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C N T E Ts^ T S . 

Preface, ..........5 

Advertisement, - - - - - - - - -10 

General Considerations previously necessary to the Explana- 
tion of the Doctrine of Justification, - - - - - 11 

CHAPTER I. — Justifying Faith, the causes, object, and nature of 
it declared, --......-81 

CHAPTER IL— The Nature of Justifying Faith, - . -105 

CHAPTER III.— The Use of Faith ia Justification ; its especial 
object further cleared, , - - - - - - -121 

CHAPTER IV.— Of Justification, the Notion, and Signification 
of the word in the Scripture, - - - - - - 139 

CHAPTER V. — The Distinction of a first and second Justifica- 
tion examined. The Continuation of Justification, whereon it 
depends, ...---...- 155 

CFIAPTER VI. — Evangelical Personal Righteousness, the Na- 
ture and Use of it. Final Judgment, and its respect to Justifi- 
cation, .......... 172 

CHAPTER VII. — Imputation, and the Nature of it ; with the 
Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ in particular, - - 183 

CHAPTER VIII.— Imputation of the Sins of the Church to Christ. 
Grounds of it. The Nature of his Suretyship. Causes of the 
New Covenant. Christ and the Church one Mystical Person. 
Consequences thereof, - - - - - - -198 



CHAPTER IX. — The Formal Cause of Justification ; or, the 
Riizliteousness on account of which believei's are justified before 
God. Objections answered, ...--. 231 

CHAPTER X. — Arguments for .Justification by the imputation of 
llie Righteousness of Christ. The first Argument from the na- 
ture and use of our own Personal Righteousness, ... 251 

CHAPTER XL— The Nature of the Obedience that God requires 
of us. The Eternal Obligation of the Law thereto, - . 270 

CHAPTER XII.— The Imputation of the Obedience of Christ to 
the Law, declared and vindicated, ..... 282 

CHAPTER XIII.— The Nature of Justification proved from the 
ditFerence of the Covenants, ...... 308 

CHAPTER XIV.— The Exclusion of all sorts of Works from an 
interest in Justification. What intended by the Law, and the 
works of it, in the Epistles of Paul, - - - - .311 

CHAPTER XV.— Faith alone, .326 

CHAPTER XM.— The Truth pleaded, further confirmed by 
Testimonies of Scripture, Jer. xxiii. 6, . - - - . 330 

CHAPTER XVII. — Testimonies out of the Evangelists, consid- 
ered, .......... 335 

CHAPTER XVIII.— The Nature of Justification as declared in 
the Epistles of Paul, especially that to the Romans, chap. iii. - 343 

CHAPTER XIX. — Objections agamst the Doctrine of Juslifica- 
tioii, by the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ. Per- 
sonal holiness and obedience not obstructed, but furthered by 
it, 416 

CHAPTER XX. — The Doctrine of the Apostle James, concernino' 
Faith and Works. Its agreement with that of Paul, - - 430 


I SHALL not need to detain the reader with an account of the nature 
and moment of that doctrine which is the entire subject of the ensuing 
discourse. For, although sundry persons, even among ourselves, have 
various apprehensions concerning it, yet that the knowledge of the 
truth therein is of the highest importance to the souls of men, is on all 
hands agreed to. Nor indeed is it possible that any man who knows 
himself to be a sinner, and therefore obnoxious thereon to the judgment 
of God, should not desire to have some knowledge of it, as that alone 
whereby the way of delivery from the evil state and condition wherein 
he finds himself is revealed. There are, I confess, multitudes in the 
world, who, although they cannot avoid some general convictions of 
sin, as also of the consequences of it, yet do fortify their minds against 
a practical admission of such conclusions, as in a just consideration of 
things do necessarily and unavoidably ensue thereon. Such persons 
wilfully deluding themselves with vain hopes and imaginations, do 
never once seriously inquire by what way or means they may obtain 
peace with God and acceptance before him, which, in comparison of 
the pi-esent enjoyment of the pleasures of sin, they value not at all. 
And it is in vain to recommend the doctrine of justification to them, 
who neither desire nor endeavour to be justified. But where any 
persons are really made sensible of their apostasy from God, of the 
evil of their natures and lives, with the dreadful consequences that 
attend thereon in the wrath of God, and eternal punishment due to sin, 
they cannot well judge themselves more concerned in any thing, than 
in the knowledge of that divine way whereby they may be delivered 
from this condition. And the minds of such persons stand in no need 
of arguments to satisfy them in the importance of this doctrine ; their 
own concernment in it, is sufficient to that purpose. And I shall 
assure them, that in the handling of it from first to last, I have had no 
other design, but only to inquire diligently into the divine revelation 
of that way, and those means, with t"he causes of them, whereby the 
conscience of a distressed sinner may attain assured peace with God, 
through our Lord Jesus Christ. I lay more weight on the steady 
direction of one soul in this inquiry, than in disappointing the objec- 
tions of twenty wrangling or fiery disputei-s. The question therelbre 
to this purpose being stated, as the reader will find in the beginning of 
our discourse, although it were necessary to spend some time in the 

1 * 5 


explication of the doctrine itself, and the terms wherein it is usually 
tiught, yet the main weight of the whole lies in the interpretation of 
Scripture testimonies, with the application of them to the experience of 
them who believe, and the state of them who seek after salvation by 
Jesus Christ. There are therefore some few things that I would desire 
the reader to take notice of, that he may receive benefit by the ensuing 
discourse ; at least, if it be not his own fault, be freed from prejudices 
against it, or a vain opposition to it. 

"^1. Althou<'-h there are at present vaiious contests about the doctrine 
of justification, and many books published in the way of controversy 
about it; vet this discourse was written with no design to contend with, 
or contradict any of what sort or opinion soever. Some kw passages 
which seem of that tendency, are indeed occasionally inserted. But 
they are such as every candid reader will judge to have been necessan,-. 
I have ascribed no opinion to any particular person, much less wrested 
the words of any, reflected on their persons, censured their abilities, 
taken advantages of presumed prejudices against them, represented 
their opinions in the deformed reflections of strained consequences, 
fancied intended notions which their words do not express, nor, can- 
didly inter]n-eted, give any countenance to, or endeavoured the vain 
pleasure of seeming success, in opposition to them, which with the like 
effects of weakness of mind and disorder of affections, are the animating 
principles of many late controversial writings. To declare and vindi- 
cate the truth to the instruction and edification of such as love it in 
sincerity, to exti'icate their minds from those difficulties in this particular 
instance, which some endeavour to cast on all gospel mysteries, to 
direct the consciences of them that inquire after abiding peace with 
God, and to establish the minds of them that do believe, are the things 
I have aimed at. And an endeavour to this end, considering all cir- 
cumstances, that station which God has been pleased graciously to give 
me in the church, has made necessary to me. 

2. I have written nothing but what I believe to be true, and useful 
to the promotion of gospel obedience. The reader may not here expect 
an extraction of other men's notions, or a collection and improvement 
of their arguments, either by artificial reasonings, or ornament of style 
and language, but a naked inquiry into the nature of the things treated 
on, as revealed in the Scripture, and as evidencing themselves in their 
power and efficacy on the minds of them that do believe. It is the 
practical direction of the consciences of men in their application to God 
by Jesus Christ, for deliverance from the curse due to the apostate state, 
and peace with him, with the influence of the way thereof upon universal 
gospel obedience, that is alone to be designed in the handling of this 
doctrine. And therefore to him that w'ould treat of it in a due manner, 
it is required that he weigh every thing he asserts in his own mind and 
experience, and not dare to propose that to others which he does not 
pibide by himself, in the most intimate recesses of his mind, under his 


nearest approaches to God, in his surprisals with dangers, in deep 
afflictions, in his preparations for death, and most humble contempla- 
tions of the infinite distance between God and him. 

Other notions and disputations about the doctrine of justification not 
seasoned with these ingredients, however seasoned to the palate of some 
by skill and language, are insipid and useless, immediately degenerating 
into an unprofitable strife of words. 

3. I know that the doctrine here pleaded for, is charged by many 
with an unfriendly aspect towards the necessity of personal holiness, 
good works, and all gospel obedience in general, yea utterly to take 
it away. So it was at the fii-st clear revelation of it by the Apostle 
Paul, as he frequently declares. But it is sufficiently evinced by him 
to be the chief principle of, and motive to all that obedience which is 
accepted with God through Jesus Christ, as we shall manifest after- 
wards. However it is acknowledged that the objective grace of the 
gospel in the doctrine of it, is liable to abuse, where there is nothing of 
the subjective grace of it in the hearts of men ; and the ways of its 
influence upon the life of God, are uncouth to the reasonings of carnal 
minds. So was it charged by the Papists at the first reformation, and 
continues yet so to be. Yet as it gave the first occasion to the Refor- 
mation itself, so was it that whereby the souls of men being set at 
liberty from their bondage to innumerable superstitious fears and obser- 
vances, utterly inconsistent with true gospel obedience, and directed 
into the ways of peace with God through Jesus Christ, were made 
fruitful in real holiness, and to abound 'in all those blessed effects of the 
life of God, which were never found among their adversaries. The 
same charge was afterwards renewed by the Socinians, and continues 
still to be managed by them. But I suppose wise and impartial men 
will not lay much weight on their accusations, until they have mani- 
fested the efficacy of their contrary persuasion by better effects and 
fruits than yet they have done. What sort of men they were who first 
coined that system of religion which they adhere to, one who knew 
them well enough, and sufficiently inclined to their anti-trinitarian 
opinions, declares in one of the queries that he proposed to Socinus 
himself and his followers. If this, says he, be the truth which you 
contend for, whence comes it to pass that it is declared only by persons, 
nulla pictatis commendatione, nullo laudato prioris vita exemplo 
canmiendatos : imo ui plerimiqiie videmus^ per vagabundos, et conten- 
tiomim zeli carnalis plerim Jwmiiics, alios ex castris, aidis, gancis 
prolatam esse. {Scntptdi ah czcellenti viro p)ropositi, inter oj)er. 
Socin.) The fiercest charge of such men against any doctrines they 
oppose as inconsistent with the necessary motives to godliness, are a 
recommendation of it to the minds of considerative men. And there 
cannot be a more effectual engine plied for the ruin of religion, than 
for men to declaim against the doctrine of justification by faith alone, 
and other truths concerning the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, as 


those which overthrow the necessity of moral duties, good works, and 
gospel obedience, whilst under the conduct of the opinions which they 
embrace in opposition to them, they give not the least evidence of the 
power of truth, or grace of the gospel upon their own hearts, or in their 
lives. Wiicreas therefore the whole gospel is the truth which is after 
godliness, declaring and exhibiting that grace of God which teaches us 
to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and that we should live 
soberly and righteously and godly in this world ; we being fallen into 
those times wherein, under great and fierce contests about notions, 
opinions, and practices in religion, there is an horrible decay in true 
gospel purity and holiness of life amongst the generality of men, I shall 
readily grant, that keeping a due regard to the only standard of truth, 
a secondary trial of doctrines proposed and contended for, may and 
ought to be made by the ways, lives, walkings and conversations of 
them by whom they are received and professed. And although it is 
acknowledged that the doctrine pleaded in the ensuing discourse be 
liable to be abused, yea turned into licentiousness by men of corrupt 
minds through the prevalency of vicious habits in them (as is the whole 
doctrine of the grace of God by Jesus Christ) and although the way 
and means of its efficacy and influence upon universal obedience to God 
in righteousness and true holiness, be not discernible without some 
beam of spiritual light, nor will give an experience of their power to 
the minds of men utterly destitute of a principle of spiritual life; yet if 
it cannot preserve its station in the church by this rule, of its useful 
tendency to the promotion of godliness, and its necessity thereto, in all 
them by whom it is really believed and received in its proper light and 
power, and that in the experience of former and present times, I shall 
be content that it be exploded, 

4. Finding that not a few have esteemed it compliant with their 
interest, to publish exceptions against some kw leaves, which in the 
handling of a subject of another nature I occasionally wrote many 
years ago on this subject, I am not without" apprehensions, that either 
the same persons or others of a like temper and principles may attempt 
an opposition to what is here expressly tendered thereon. On supposi- 
tion of such an attempt, I shall in one word let the authors of it know, 
wherein alone I shall be concerned. For if they shall make it their 
business to cavil at expressions, to wrest my words, wiredraw inferences 
and conclusions from them not expressly owned by me, to revile my 
person, to catch at advantages in any occasional passages, or other 
unessential parts of the discourse, labouring for an appearance of 
success and reputation to themselves thereby, without a due attendance 
to Christian moderation, candour and ingenuousness, I shall take no 
more notice of what they say or write, than I would do of the greatest 
impertinencics that can be reported in this world. The same I say 
concerning oppositions of the like nature to any other writings of mine; 
a work which as I hear, some are at present engaged in. I have some- 


what else to do than to cast away any part of the small remainder of 
my life in that kind of controversial writings which good men bewait, 
and wise men deride. Whereas therefore, the principal design of this 
discourse, is to state the doctrine of justification from the Scripture, and 
to confirm it by the testimonies thereof, I shall not esteem it .=!poken 
against, unless our exposition of Scripture testimonies, and the applica- 
tion of them to the present argument be disproved by just rules of 
interpretation, and another sense of them be evinced. All other things 
which I conceive necessary to be spoken to, in order to the right under- 
standing and due improvement of the truth pleaded for, are comprised 
and declared in the ensuing general discourses to that purpose ; these 
few things I thought meet to mind the reader of. 


From mv Study, 
May the 30thy 1677. 


In this edition of Dr. Owen's important and profound work on 
Justification, the punctuation, by which the meaning was, in 
many instances, obscured, if not destroyed, has been corrected 
throughout; some redundant expressions have been lopped 
off; some obsolete words have been changed into more intelli- 
gible ones ; the Latin and Greek quotations have been re- 
moved from the text to the bottom of the page; and those 
which the author had left untranslated, have been translated. 
In most instances, the Hebrew, in quotations from the Old Tes- 
tament, has been omitted, as not required by those who can 
consult the original, and useless to those who cannot. On the 
whole, it is believed that the present will not suffer in com- 
parison with any former edition of this valuable work. 





That we may treat of the doctrine of justification usefully to 
its proper ends, wliich are the glory of God in Christ, with the 
peace and furtherance of the obedience of behevers, some things 
are previously to be considered, which we must have respect 
to in the whole process of our discourse. And among others 
that might be insisted on to the same purpose, these that ensue 
are not to be omitted. 

1. The first inquiry in this matter in a way of duty, is after 
the proper relief of the conscience of a sinner, pressed and 
perplexed with a sense of the guilt of sin. For justification 
is the way and means whereby such a person obtains ac- 
ceptance before God, with a right and title to a heavenly 
inheritance. And nothing is pleadable in this cause, but what 
a man would speak to his own conscience in that state, or 
to the conscience of another, when he is anxious under that 
inquiry. Wherefore, the person under consideration, that is, 
who is to be justified, is one who in himself is dct,3>;?, Rom. iv. 
5, "ungodly;" and thereon vrtoStzoj tu ©fu; chap. iii. 19, 
" guilty before God ;" -that is, obnoxious, subject, liable rw 
fiiztttcjuaT't rov 0fov, chap. i. 32 ; to the righteous sentential "judg- 
ment of God," that he who committeth sin, who is any way 
guilty of it, is worthy of death. Hereupon such a person 
finds himself vno xarapav, Gal. iii. 10; " imder the curse," 
and " the wrath of God " therein " abiding on him," John iii. 
IS, 36. In this condition he is uianoxoyr^ror, without plea; 



" witlioiit excuse," by any thing in and from himself, for hia 
own relief; his mouth is stopped," Rom. iii. 19. For he is, 
in the judgment of God, declared in the Scripture dvyx^rjesif v^' 
a^oprttt.-; Gal. iii. 22, every way "shut up under sin" and 
all the consequences of it. Many evils in this condition are 
men subject to, which may be reduced to those two of our 
first parents, wherein they were represented. For first, they 
thought foolishly to hide themselves from God, and then more 
foolishly, would have charged him as the cause of their sin. 
And such naturally are the thoughts of men under their con- 
victions. But, whoever is the subject of the justification in- 
quired after, is by various means brought into his apprehen- 
sions, who cried, " Sirs ! what must I do to be saved ?" 

2. With respect to this state and condition of men, or men 
in this state and condition, the inquiry is : What that is, upon 
the account whereof God pardons all their sins, receives them 
into his favour, declares or pronounces them righteous, and 
acquitted from all guilt, removes the curse, and turns away 
all his wrath from them, giving them right and title to a 
blessed immortality, or life eternal. This is that alone where- 
in the consciences of sinners in this estate are concerned. Nor 
do they inquire after any thing, but what they may have to 
oppose to, or answer the justice of God in the commands 
and curse of the law, and what they may betake themselves 
to, for the obtaining of acceptance with him to life and salva- 

That the Apostle does thus and no otherwise state this whole 
matter, and in answer to this inquiry, declare the nature of 
justification and all the causes of it, in the third and fourth 
chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, and elsewhere, shall be 
aftervvards declared and proved. And we shall also manifest 
that the Apostle James, in the second chapter of his Epistle, 
does not speak to this inquiry, nor give an answer to it ; 
but it is of justification in another sense, and to another pur- 
pose whereof he treats. And whereas we cannot either 
safely or usefully treat of this doctrine, but with respect to 
tlie same ends for which it is declared, and whereunto it is ap- 
plied in the Scripture; we should not by any pretences be 
tm-ned aside from attending to this case and its resolution, in 
all our discourses on this subject. For it is the direction, satis- 
faction and peace of the consciences of men, and not the curi- 
osity of notions or subtilty of disputations, which it is our duty 
to design. And therefore 1 shall, as much as possibly I may, 


avoid all those philosophical terms and distinctions, wherewith 
this evangelical doctrine has been perplexed, rather than 
illustrated. For more weight is to be pnt on the steady gui- 
dance of the mind and conscience of one believer, really exer- 
cised about the foundation of his peace and acceptance with 
God, than on the confutation of ten wrangling disputers. 

3. Now the inquiry on what account or for what cause and 
reason a man may be so acquitted or discharged of sin, and ac- 
cepted with God as before declared, doth necessarily issue in 
this : Whether it be any thing in ourselves, as our faith and re- 
pentance, the renovation of our natures, inherent habits of 
grace, and actual works of righteousness, which we have done, 
or may do ; or whether it be the obedience, righteousness, satis- 
faction, and merit of the Son of God, our mediator and surety 
of the covenant, imputed to us. One of these it must be, 
namely, something that is our own, which, whatever may be 
the influence of the grace of God in it, or causality of it, be- 
cause wrought in and by us, is inherently our own in a proper 
sense ; or something, which being not our own, not inherent in 
us, not wrought by us, is yet imputed unto us, for the pardon 
of our sins, and the acceptation of our persons as righteous ; or 
the making of us righteous in the sight of God. Neither are 
these things capable of mixture or composition, Rom. xi. 6. 
Which of these it is the duty, wisdom and safety of a convinced 
sinner to rely upon and trust to in his appearance before God, 
is the sum of our present inquiry. 

4. The way whereby sinners do, or ought to betake them- 
selves to this relief, on supposition that it is the righteous- 
ness of Christ, and how they come to be partakers of, or inter- 
ested in that which is not inherently their own, to as good 
benefit and as much advantage, as if it were there own, is of a 
distinct consideration. And as this also is clearly determined 
in the Scripture, so it is acknowledged in the experience of all 
them that do truly believe. Neither are we in this matter 
much to regard the senses or arguings of men, who were never 
thoroughly convinced of sin, nor have ever in their own per- 
sons " fled for refuge unto the hope set before them." 

5. These things I say are always to be attended to, in our 
whole disquisition into the nature of evangelical justification ; 
for without a constant respect to them, we shall quickly 
wander into curious and perplexed questions, wherein the con- 
sciences of guilty sinners are not concerned ; and which there- 
fove really belong not to the substance or truth of this doc- 



trine, nor are to be mixed therewith. It is alone the relief 
of those who are in themselves inoSixot tu> ©tco, guilty before, 
or obnoxious and liable to the judgment of God, that we in- 
quire after. That this is not any thing in or of themselves, nor 
can so be ; that it is a provision without them, made in infinite 
wisdom and grace by the mediation of Christ, his obedience 
and death therein, is secured in the Scripture, against all con- 
tradiction ; and it is the fundamental principle of the gospel, 
Matt. xi. 28. 

6. It is confessed, that many things for the declaration of the 
truth, and the order of the dispensation of God's grace herein, 
are necessarily to be insisted on; such are the nature of justi- 
fying faith, the place and use of it in justification, the causes 
of the new covenant, the true notion of the mediation and sure- 
tiship of Christ, and the like, Avhich shall all of them be in- 
quired into. But beyond what tends directly to the guidance 
of the minds, and satisfaction of the souls of men, who seek 
after a stable and abiding foundation of acceptance with God, 
we are not easily to be drawn, unless we are free to lose the 
benefit and comfort of this most important evangelical truth, 
in needless and unprofitable contentions. And amongst many 
other miscarriages which men are subject to, whilst they are 
conversant about these things, this, in an especial manner, is 
to be avoided. 

7. For the doctrine of justification is directive of Christian 
practice, and in no other evangelical truth is the whole of our 
obedience more concerned; for the foundation, reasons, and 
motives, of all our duty towards God, are contained therein. 
Wherefore, in order to the due improvement of them, ought 
it to be taught, and not otherwise. That which alone we aim 
(or ought so to do) to learn in it and by it, is how we may 
get and maintain peace with God, and so live unto him, as to 
be accepted with him in what we do. To satisfy the minds 
and consciences of men in these things is this doctrine to be 
taught. Wherefore, to carry it out of the understandings of 
ordinary Christians, by speculative notions and distinctions, is 
disserviceable to the faith of the Church. Yea, the mixing 
of evangelical revelations with philosophical notions, has been, 
in sundry ages, the poison of religion. Pretence of accu- 
racy and artificial skill in teaching, is that which gives coun- 
tenance to such a way of handling sacred things. But the 
spiritual amplitude of Divine truths is restrained hereby, whilst 
low, mean philosophical senses are imposed on them. And 


not only so, but endless divisions and contentions are occa- 
sioned and perpetuated. Hence, when any ditference in reli- 
gion is, in the pursuit of controversies about it, brought into 
the field of metaphysical respects and philosophical terms, 
whereof there is Tto-Kv? vo^o^ tr^a xm iv^ol, sufficient provision for 
the supply of the combatants on both sides, the truth for the 
most part, as to any concernment of the souls of men therein, 
is utterly lost, and buried in the rubbish of senseless and un- 
profitable words. And thus, in particular, those who seem to 
be well enough agreed in the whole doctrine of justificatiom, 
so far as the Scripture goes before them, and the experience 
of believers keeps them company, when once they engage in 
their philosophical definitions and distinctions, are at such an 
irreconcilable variance among themselves, as if they were 
agreed on no one thing that doth concern it. For as men have 
various apprehensions in coining such definitions as may be 
defensible against objections, which most men aim at therein ; 
so, no proposition can be so plain, (at least in materia proba- 
bili,) but that a man ordinarily versed in piBdagogical terms 
and metaphysical notions, may multiply distinctions on every 
word of it. 

8. Hence there has been a pretence and appearance of 
twenty several opinions among Protestants, about justification; 
as Eellarmine and Vasquez and others of the Papists charge 
it against them, out of Osiander, when the faith of them all 
was one and the same, Bellar. lib. 5. cap. 1. Vasq. in 1. 2. 
Quaest. 113. disp. 202, whereof we shall speak elsewhere. 
When men are once advanced into that field of disputation, 
which is all overgrown with thorns of subtilties, perplexed 
notions, and futile terms of art, they consider principally how 
they may entangle others in it •, scarce at all, how they may 
get out of it themselves. And in this posture they oftentimes 
utterly forget the business which they are about, especially in 
this matter of justification ; namely, how a guilty sinner may 
come to obtain favour and acceptance with God. And not 
only so, but I doubt they oftentimes dispute themselves beyond 
what they can well abide by, when they return home to a 
sedate meditation of the state of things between God and their 
own souls. And I cannot much value their notions and senti- 
ments of this matter, who object and answer themselves out 
of a sense of their own appearance before God, much less of 
theirs, who evidence an open inconformity to the grace and 
truth of this doctrine, in their hearts and lives. 


9. Wherefore, we do but trouble the faith of Christians, ond 
the peace of the true Church of God, whilst we dispute about 
expressions, terms and notions, when the substance of the doc- 
trine intended, may be declared and believed, without the 
knowledge, understanding, or use of any of them. Such are 
all those in whose subtle management, the captious art of 
wrangling does principally consist. A diligent attendance to 
the revelation, made hereof in the Scripture, and an ex- 
amination of our own experience thereby, is the sum of what 
is required of us for the right understanding of the truth herein. 
And every true believer who is taught of God, knows how to 
put his whole trust in Christ alone, and the grace of God by 
him, for mercy, righteousness and glory, and not at all concern 
himself with those loads of thorns and briars, which, under the 
names of definitions, distinctions, accurate notions, in a number 
of exotic, psedagogical and philosophical terms, some pretend to 
accommodate them withal. 

10. The Holy Ghost in expressing the most eminent acts in 
our Justification, especially as to our believing, or the acting 
of that faith whereby we are justified, is pleased to make use 
of many metaphorical expressions. For any to use them now, 
ill the same way, and to the same purpose, is esteemed rude, 
undisciplinary, and even ridiculous; but on what grounds? 
He that shall deny, that there is more spiritual sense and 
experience conveyed by them into the hearts and minds of 
believers, (which is the life and soul of teaching things prac- 
tical,) than in the most accurate philosophical expressions, is 
himself really ignorant of the whole truth in this matter. The 
propriety of such expressions belongs, and is confined to natural 
science; but spiritual truths are to be taught, not "in the 
words which man^s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy 
Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." 
God is wiser than man, and the Holy Ghost knows better 
what are the most expedient ways for the illumination of our 
minds, with that knowledge of evangelical truths, which it is 
our duty to have and attain, than the wisest of us all. And 
other knowledge of, or skill in these things, than what is re- 
quired of us in a way of duty, is not to be valued. 

It is therefore to no purpose to handle the mysteries of the 
gospel, as if Holcot and Bricot, Thomas and Gabriel, with 
all the Sententiarists, Summists, and Quodlibetarians of the old 
Roman peripatetical school, were to be raked out of their 
graves to be our guides. Especially will they be of no use to 


US, in this doctrine of justification. For whereas they pertina- 
ciously adhered unto the pliilosophy of Aristotle, who knew 
nothing of any righteousness, but what is a habit inherent in 
ourselves, and the acts of it, they wrested the whole doctrine 
of justification unto a compliance therewithal* 

Secondly — A due consideration of Him with whom in this 
matter we have to do, and that immediately, is necessary to 
a right stating of our thoughts about it. The Scripture ex- 
presses it emphaticaliv, that, "it is God that justifieth," Rom. 
viii. 33. And he assumes it to himself as his prerogative, to 
do what belongs thereunto. " I, even I am he that blotteth out 
thy transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember thy 
sins," Isa. xhii. 25. And it is hard, in my apprehension, to 
suggest to him any other reason, or consideration of the par- 
don of our sins; seeing he has taken it on him to do it for 
his own sake*, that is, "for the Lord's sake," Dan. ix. 17., in 
whom " all the seed of Israel are justified," Isa. xlv. 25. In his 
sight, before his tribunal, it is, that men are justified or con- 
demned, Psal. cxliii. 2. " Enter not into judgment with thy 
servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified." 
And the whole work of justification, with all that belongs 
thereto, is represented after the manner of a juridical pro- 
ceeding before God's tribunal, as we shall see afterwards. 
Therefore, saith the Apostle, "by the deeds of the law shall 
no flesh be justified in his sight," Rom. iii. 20. However any 
may be justified in the sight of men or angels, by their own 
obedience, or deeds of the law, yet in his sight, none can be so. 

Necessary it is to any man who is to come to a trial, in the 
sentence whereof he is greatly concerned, duly to consider the 
judge before whom he is to appear, and by whom his cause is 
finally to be determined. And if we manage our disputes about 
justification, without a continual regard to him, by whom we 
must be cast or acquitted, we shall not rightly apprehend 
what our plea ought to be. Wherefore, the greatness, the ma- 
jesty, the holiness and sovereign authority of God, are always 
to be present with us, in a due sense of them, when we in- 
quire how we may be justified before him. Yet, it is hard to 
discern how the minds of some men are influenced by the con- 

* So Pighius himself complained of them, Controv. 2. Dissimulare non 
possumus, hanc vel primam doctrinae Christianaj partem (de justificatione) 
obscuratam magis quam illustratam a,scholasticis, spinosis plerisqne qnassti- 
onibus, et definitionibus, secundum quas nonnulli magno supercilio primam 
in omnibus autoritatem arrogantes, &c. 

2 * 


sideration of these things, in their fierce contests for the inter- 
est of their own works in their justification. But the Scrip 
ture represents to us, what thoughts of him, and of them- 
selves, not only shuiers, but saints also have had, and cannot 
hut have, upon near discoveries and etfectual conceptions of 
God and his greatness. Thoughts hereof ensuing on a sense 
of the guilt of sin, filled our first parents with fear and shame, 
and put them on that foolish attempt of hiding themselves from 
him. Nor is the wisdom of their posterity one jot better under 
their convictions, without a discovery of the promise. That 
alone makes simiers wise, which tenders them relief. At pre- 
sent, the generality of men are secure, and do not much ques- 
tion but that they shall come off well enough one way or other, 
in the trial they are to undergo. And as such persons are alto- 
sether indifferent what doctrine concerning jvistification is 
taught and received, so for the most part, for themselves, they 
incline to that declaration of it, which best suits their own 
reason, as influenced with self-conceit, and corrupt affections. 
The sum hereof is, that what they cannot do themselves, what 
is wanting that they may be saved, be it more or less, shall one 
way or other be made up by Christ, either the use or the abuse 
of which persuasion is the greatest fountain of sin in the world, 
next to the depravity of our nature. And whatever be, or 
may be pretended to the contrary, persons not convinced of 
sin, not humbled for it, are, in all their ratiocinations about 
spiritual things, under the conduct of principles so vitiated and 
corrupted. See Matt, xviii. 3, 4. But when God is pleased by 
any means to manifest his glory to sinners, all their former 
trusts and contrivances issue in dreadful horror and distress. 
An account of their temper is given us, Isa. xxxiii. 14. "The 
sinners in Sion are afraid, fearfulness hath surprised the hy- 
pocrites: who among us shall dwell Avith the devouring fire? 
who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Nor 
is it thus only with some peculiar sort of sinners. The same 
will be the thoug^its of all guilty persons, at some time or 
other. For those who through sensuality, security, or super- 
stition, do hide themselves from the vexation of them in this 
world, will not fail to meet with them when their terror shall 
be increased, and become remediless. "Our God is a con- 
suming fire," and men will one day find, how vain it is to set 
their briars and thorns against him in battle array. And we 
may see what extravagant coUtrivances convinced sinners will 
put themselves upon, under any real view of the majesty and 


holiness of God: Micah, vi. 6, 7. "Wherewith (saith one of 
them) shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the 
high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with 
calves of a year old? will the Lord be pleased with thousands 
of rams, or'with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? shall I give my 
first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin 
of my soul ?" Neither shall I ever think them meet to be con- 
tended withal about the doctrine of justification, who take no 
notice of these things, but rather despise them. 

This is the proper effect of the conviction of sin, strengthened 
and sharpened with the consideration of the terror of the 
Lord, who is to judge concerning it. And this is that, which 
in the Papacy meeting with an ignorance of the righteousness 
of God, has produced innumerable superstitious inventions, for 
the appeasing of the consciences of men, who by any means 
fall under the disquietments of suoh convictions. For they 
quickly see that nothing of the obedience which God requires 
of them, as it is performed by them, will justify them before 
this high and holy God. Wherefore they seek for shelter in 
contrivances about things that he has not con^nianded, to try 
if they can put a cheat upon their consciences, and find relief 
in diversions. 

Nor is it thus only with profligate sinners upon their con- 
victions, but the best of men, when diey have had near and 
efficacious representations of the greatness, holiness, and glory 
of God, have been cast into the deepest self-abasement, and 
most serious renunciations of all trust or confidence in them- 
selves. So the prophet Isaiah, upon his vision of the glory of 
the Holy One, cried out, "Woe is me, I am undone, because I 
am a man of unclean lips;" chap. vi. 5, nor was he relieved but 
by an evidence of the free pardon of sin, ver. 7. So holy 
Job, in all his contests with his friends, who charged him with 
hypocrisy, and his l^eing a sinner, guilty in a peculiar manner 
above other men, with assured confidence and perseverance 
therein, justified his sincerity, his faith and trust in God, 
ao-ainst their whole charge and every parcel of it. And this 
he does with such a full satisfaction of his own integrity, as 
that not only he insists at large on his vindication, but fre- 
quently appeals to God himself, as to the truth of his plea. For 
he directly pursues that counsel which the apostle James 
so long after gives to all believers ; nor is the doctrine of that 
apostle more eminently exemplified in anyone instance through- 
oui the whole Scripture, than in him. iFor he shows his faith 


by his works, and pleads his justification thereby. As Job 
justified himself, and was justiiied by his works, so we allow 
it the duty of every believer to be. His plea for justification 
by works, in the sense wherein it is so, was the most noble 
tliat ever was in the world, nor Avas ever any controversy 
managed upon a greater occasion. 

At length this Job is called into the immediate presence of 
God, to plead his own cause, not now as stated between him 
and his friends, whether he were an hypocrite or no, or whether 
his faith or trust in God was sincere ; but as it was stated 
1 etween God and him, wherein he seemed to have made some 
undue assumptions on his own behalf. The question was now 
rviduced to this: on what grounds he might or could be jus- 
tifi(,d in the sight of God ? To prepare his mind to a right 
judgment in this case, God manifests his glory to him, and iu- 
vStructs him in the greatness of his majesty and power. And 
this he does by a multiplication of instances, because under our 
temptations, we are very slow in admitthig right conceptions 
of God. Here the holy man quickly acknowledged, that the 
state of the caso was utterly altered. All his former pleas of 
faith, hope, and u-ust in God, of sincerity in obedience, which 
with so much earnestness he before insisted on, are now quite 
laid aside. He saw veil enough that they were not pleadable 
at the tribunal before vhich he now appeared, so that God 
should enter into judgment with him thereon, with respect to 
his justification. Wherefort., in the deepest self-abasement 
and abhorrence, he betakes himself unto sovereign grace and 
mercy. For then "Job answered, the Lord and said. Behold 
I am vile, what shall I answer tnee ? I will lay mine hand 
upon my mouth : once have I spoken, but I will not answer, 
yea, twice, but I will proceed no further," Job xl. 3 — 5, And 
again, " Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak, I will demand 
of thee, and declare thou unto me : I have heard of thee bv the 
hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth tliee : wherefore I 
abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes," chap. xlii. 4 — 6. 
Let any men place themselves in the condition wherein now 
Job was, in the immediate presence of God ; let them attend 
to what he really speaks to them in his word, namely what 
they will answer to the charge that he has against them, 
and what will be their best plea before his tribunal, that they 
may be justified. I do not believe that any man living has 
more encouraging grounds to plead for an interest in his 
own faith and obedience, in his justification before God, than 


Job had; although I suppose he had not so much skill to 
manage a plea to that purpose with scholastic notions and dis- 
tinctions, as the Jesuits have. But, however we may be harness- 
ed with subtle arguments and solutions, I fear it will not be safe 
for us to adventure further upon God, than he dared to do. 

There was of old, a direction for the visitation of the sick, 
composed, as they say, by Anselm, and published by Casparus 
Vlenbergius, which expresses a better sense of these things, 
than some seem to be convinced of.* "Dost thou believe that 
thou canst not be saved, but by the death of Christ? The sick 
man answereth, yes; then let it be said unto him. Go to, then, 
and whilst thy soul abideth in thee, put all thy confidence in 
this death alone, place thy trust in no other thing, connnit thy- 
self wholly to this death, cover thyself wholly with this alone, 
«;ast thyself wholly on this death, wrap thyself wholly in this 
death. And if God would judge thee, say, Lord, I place the 
death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and thy judgment; 
and otherwise 1 will not contend, or enter into judgment with 
thee. And if he shall say unto thee, tl)at thou art a sinner, say, 
I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me ar.d 
my sins. If he shall say unto thee, that thou hast deserved 
damnation, say. Lord, I put the death of our Lord Jesus Christ 
between thee and all my shis; and I offer his merits for my 
own, which I shovdd have, and have not. If he say that he is 
angry with thee, say. Lord, I place the death of our Lord Jesus 
Christ between me and thy anger." Those who gave these 
directions, seem to have been sensible of what it is to appear 
before the tribunal of God; and how unsafe it will be for us 
there to insist on any thing in ourselves. Hence are the v/ords 
of the same Anselm in his meditations.! "My conscience hath 

* Credisne te non posse salvari nisi per mortem Christi ? Respondet infir- 
miis, Etiam ; tum dicit ilU ; Age ergo dum snperest in te anima, in hue sola 
Htorte fiduciam tuam constitue; in nulla alia re fidiiciam liabe, hiiic riiorti 
te fotnm committe, hac sola te totum contege, totntn iinmisce te in hnc iror- 
te, in hac niorte totum te involve. Et si Dotninus te voluerit judicare. Die, 
Doiiiine. mortem Domini nostri Jesu Christi objicio inter me et timm jiidi- 
ciiim: aliter tecum non contendo. Et si tibi dixerit quia pcccator es, die, 
mortem Domini nostri Jesu Christi pono inter me et peccata mea. Si 
dixerit tibi quod meruisti damnationem ; die, Domine, mortem Domini nostri 
Jesu Christi obtendo inter te et mala merita mea, ipsiusque merita otiero 
pro merito quod ego debuissem habere nee habeo; si dixerit quod tibi est 
iratus, die, Domine, mortem Domini Jesu Christi oppono inter me et iram 

I Conscientia mea meruit damnationem, et penitentia mea non sufficit ad 
satisfactionem, scd certum est quod misericordia tua superat omnem offen- 


deserved daniuation, and my repentance is not sufficient for 
satisfaction, but most certain it is, that thy mercy aboundeth 
above all otlence." And this seems to me a better directioii, 
than tliose more lately given by some of the Roman church. 
Such is the prayer suggested to a sick man, by Johan. Polan- 
dus, lib. Mcthodus in adjuvandis moricntibus. " Lord Jesus, 
join my obedience with all that thou hast done and suffered, 
out of thy perfect charity and obedience. And with the riches 
of the satisfactions and merits of this love, deign to offer it to 
the Eternal Father."* Or that of a greater author, Antidot. 
Aniniae, fol. 17. "0 rosy company of the martyrs, ofller for me, 
now and at the hour of my death, the merits of your faithful- 
ness, constancy, and precious blood, together with the blood of 
the immaculate lamb, shed for the salvation of alL"t Hierom, 
long before Anselm, spake to the same purpose. J "When tlie 
day of judgment, or of death, shall come, all hands will be 
dissolved, (that is, faint or fall down,) unto which it is said in 
another place, Be strengthened, ye hands that hang down. But 
all liands shall be melted down, (that is, all men's strength and 
confidence shall fail them,) because no works shall be found 
which can answer the righteousness of God ; for no flesh shall 
be justified in his sight. Whence the Prophet says, in the 
Psalm, If thou. Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, who should 
stand?" And Ambrose to the same purpose. § "Let no man 
arrogate any thing unto himself — let no man glory in his own 
merits or good deeds — let no man boast of his power — let us 
all liope to find mercy by our Lord Jesus, for we shall all stand 
before his judgment-seat. Of him will I beg pardon — of him 
will I desire indulgence — what other hope is there for sin- 

* Domine Jesu, conjunge, obsecro, obsequinm meiim cum omnibus qiias tu 
egisti, et passus es ex tani perfecta charitate et obedientia. Et cum divitiis 
satisfactionum et meritorum dilectionis, Patri asterno illud offerre digneris. 

■) Tu liinc O rosea Martyrum turba offer pro me, nunc et in hora mortis 
mete, inerita fidelitatum,constantiae et pretiosi sanguinis, cum sanguine agni 
imsnaculati, pro omnium salute effusi. 

X Cum dies judicii aut dormitionis advenerit, omnes manus dissolventur ; 
quibus dtcitur in alio loco, confortamini manus dissolutie ; dissolventur autem 
manus quia nullum opus dignum Dei justitia reperiatur, et non justificabitur 
in conspectu ejus omnis vivens,unde Prophctadicit in Psalmo, si iniquitates 
attcndas Domine, quis sustinebit? lib. 6. in Isa. in cap. xiii. 5, 6, 7. 

5 Nemo ergo sibi arroget, nemo de meritis glorietur, nemo de potestate se 
jactct, omnes speremus per Dominum Jesum misericordiam inveiiire. quon- 
iam o(nnes ante tribunal ejus stabimus : de illo veniam, de ilio indulgentiara 
wstulabo; quEcnam spes alia peccatoribus ? in Psa. cxix. Resh. 


Wlieref^re, if men will be turned off from a continual regard 
V) the greatness, holiness, and majesty of God, by their in- 
ventions in the heat of dispufatiou, if they do forget a rever- 
tential consideration of what will become them, and what they 
may betake themselv^es to, when they stand before his tribu- 
aal, they may engage in such apprehensions, as they dare not 
abide by in their own personal trial ; for, how shall man be 
just with God ? Hence it has been observed, that the school- 
men themselv^es, in their meditations and devotional writings, 
ivherein they had immediate thoughts of God, with whom they 
had to do, did speak quite another language, as to justitication 
Defore God, than they do in their wrangling philosophical fiery 
lisputes about it. And I had rather learn what some men 
^eally judge about their own justification, from their prayers, 
than their writings. Nor do I remember, that I did ever hear 
my good man in his prayers, use any expressions about justi- 
fication, pardon of sin, and righteousness before God, wherein 
my plea from any thing in ourselves, was introduced or made 
use of. The prayer of Daniel hath, hi this matter, been the 
substance of their supplications. " Lord ! righteousness be- 
longeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces ; we do not 
present our supplications before thee for our own righteous- 
ness, but for thy great mercies. Lord hear, Lord forgive, 
for thine own sake, my God," Dan. ix. 7, 18, 19. Or that of 
the Psalmist, " Enter not into judgment with thy servant, 
Lord: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified," Psal. 
cxliii. 2. Or, '• If thou, Lord, mark iniquity. Lord, who shall 
stand ? but there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be 
feared," Psal. cxxx. 2 — 4. On which words, the exposition 
of Austin is remarkable, speaking of David, and applying it 
to himself. " Lo, he cries out under the burden of his ini- 
quities. He has examined himself, he has examined his life, 
he sees it covered with scandalous crimes; wherever he looks 
he finds no goodness in himself. And when he sees on every 
hand such numerous and aggravated sins, as if in terror he 
exclaims, ' If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, who shall 
stand?' For he sees that the whole life of man is beset with 
sins, like barking dogs; that all consciences are accused by their 
own thoughts, that a pure heart can not be found which can 
lay hold of righteousness. This being the case, let the hearts 
of all lay hold of the mercy of the Lord their God, and say to 
him, ' If thou, Lord, shouldst mark inicphties, Lord, who shall 
stand?' But what is the ground of hope? ' For there is forgive- 


ness with thee.' "* And whereas we may, and ought to repre- 
sent inito God hi onr supplications, our faith, or wliat it is that 
Ave believe herein ; I much question, whether some men can 
find in their hearts to pray over and plead before him, all the 
ariiuments and distinctions they make use of, to prove the inter- 
esfof onr works and obedience, in our justification before him, 
or enter into judgment with him, upon the conclusions which 
they make from them. Nor will many be satisfied to make 
use' of that prayer which Pelagius taught the widow, as it was 
objected to him in the Diaspolitan Synod.t " Thou knowest, 
Lord, how holy, how innocent, how pure from aU deceit and 
rapine, are the hands which I stretch forth unto thee; how just, 
liow unspotted with evil, how free from lying are those lips 
wherewith I pour forth prayers unto thee, that thou wouldst 
have mercy on me." And yet, although he taught her so to 
plead her own purity, innocency and righteousness before God, 
yet he does it not, as those whereon she might be absolutely 
justified, but only as the condition of her obtaining mercy. Nor 
have I observed, that any public Liturgies (the Mass-Book 
only excepted, wherein there is a frequent recourse to the 
merits and intercession of saints,) do guide men in their pray- 
ers before God, to plead any thing for their acceptance with 
him, or as the means or condition thereof, but grace, mercy, 
the righteousness and blood of Christ alone. 

Wherefore, I cannot but judge it best, (others may think of 
it as they please,) for those who would teach or learn the doc- 
trine of justification in a due manner, to place their consciences 
in the presence of God, and their persons before his tribunal, 
and then, upon a due consideration of his greatness, power, ma- 
jesty, righteousness, holiness, of the terror of his glory, and 
sovereign authority, to inquire what the Scripture, and a sense 
of their own condition, direct them to, as their relief and re- 

* Ecoe clamat sub molibus iniqnitatum suarum. Circumspexit se, circnm- 
spexit vilatn siiam, vidit illam undique flagitiis coopertam, (luacunqne respexit, 
nihil in so honi invenil: Et cum tanta et tarn multa peccata undiqne 
vidcrit, tamquam cxpavescens, exciamavit, si iniqnitates obscrvaris 
Dominc, (luis sustincbit? videt enim prope totam vitam humanam circumla- 
trari peccalis; accusari oinnes conscientias cogitationibus siiis, non iiiveniri 
cor casturn pra-suincns de justitia. quod quia inveniri non potest, pra^sumat 
ergo omnium cor de misericordia Domini Hei sui, et dicat Deo, -si iniquila- 
tes obscrvaris Dominc, Domine quis sustinebit? Quae autem est spes ? quon- 
iam apiid tc jiropitiatio est. 

f Tu nosti Dominc qiiam sancta% q\iam innocentes, qnam pura^ ab omni 
fraudc et rapina (jiias ad te expando manus ; quam justa, quam iunnaculata la- 
bia et ab omni meudacio libera, quibus tibi ut mihi miserearis preccs I'undo. 


fuge, and what plea it becomes them to make for themselves. 
Secret thoughts of God and ourselves — retired meditations — the 
conduct of the spirit in humble supplications — death-bed pre- 
parations for an immediate appearance before God — faitli and 
love in exercise on Christ, speak other things for the most part, 
than many contend for. 

3. A clear apprehension and due sense of the greatness of 
our apostasy from God — of the depravation of om* natures 
thereby — of the power and guilt of sin — of the holiness and 
severity of the law, are necessary to a right apprehension of 
the doctrine of justification. Therefore, to the declaration of 
it does the Apostle premise a large discourse, thoroughly to 
convince the minds of all that seek to be justified, with a sense 
of these things, Rom. i. 2, 3. Tiie rules which he has given 
us, the method which he prescribes, and the ends which he de- 
signs, are those which we sliall choose to follow. And he lays 
it down in general, That the righteousness of God is revealed 
from faith to faith, and that the just shall live by faith, chap. i. 
17. But he declares, not in particular, the causes, nature, and 
way of our justification, until he hath fully evinced that all men 
are shut up under this state of sin, and manifested how deplor- 
able their condition is thereby. And in the ignorance of tliese 
things, in the denying or palliating of them, lies the foundation 
of. all misbelief about the grace of God. Pelagianism in its first 
root, and all its present branches, is resolved thereinto. For, 
not apprehending the dread of our original apostasy from God, 
nor the consequence of it in the universal depravation of our 
nature, they disown any necessity, either of the satisfaction of 
Christ, or the efficacy of divine grace, for our recovery or res- 
toration. So, upon the matter, the principal ends of the mis- 
sion, both of the Son of God, and of the Holy Spirit, are re- 
nounced; which issues in the denial of the Deity of the one, 
and the personality of the other. The fall which we had, being 
not great, and the disease contracted thereby, being easily cur- 
able, and there being little or no evil in these things, winch are 
now unavoidable to our nature, it is no great matter to be freed 
or justified from all, by a mere act of favour on our own en- 
deavours; nor is the efficacious grace of God any way needful 
to our sanctification and obedience, as these men suppose. 

Where these or the like conceits are admitted, and the minds 
of men by them kept off from a due apprehension of the state 
and guilt of sin, and their consciences from being affected witl 
th«^ terror of the Lord, and curse of the law thereon, justifies 



tiou is a notion to be dealt withal, pleasantly or subtilly, as men 
see occasion. And hence arise the differences about it, at pre- 
sent, I mean those which are really such, and not merely the 
dirterent ways whereby learned men express their thoughts and 
apjirehensions concerning it. 

By some, the imputation of the actual apostasy and trans- 
gression of Adam, the head of our nature, whereby his sin be- 
came the sin of the world, is utterly denied. Hereby both the 
ground the Apostle proceeds on, in evhicing the necessity of 
our justification, or our being made righteous by the obedience 
of another, and all the arguments brought in the confirmation 
of the doctrine of it, in the fifth chapter of his Epistle to the 
Romans, are evaded and overthrown. Socinus de Servator. 
par. 4. cap. 6, confesses that place to give great countenance 
to the doctrine of justification, by the imputation of the righte- 
ousness of Christ. And therefore he sets himself to oppose 
with sundry artifices, the imputation of the sin of Adam to 
his natural posterity. For he perceived well enough, thai 
upon the admission thereof, the imputation of the righteousness 
of Christ to his spiritual seed, would unavoidably follow, ac- 
cording to the tenor of the Apostle's discourse. 

Some deny the depravation and corruption of our nature, 
which ensued on our apostasy from God, and the loss of his 
image. Or if they do not absolutely deny it, yet they so ex- 
tenuate it, as to render it a matter of no great concern to us, 
Some disease and distemper of the soul they will acknowledge, 
arising from the disorder of our affections, whereby we are 
apt to receive in such vicious habits and customs, as are in prac- 
tice in the world. And as the guilt hereof is not much, so the 
danger of it is not great. And as for any spiritual filth or stain 
of our nature, that is in it, it is clear washed away from all, by 
baptism. That deformity of soul which came upon us in the 
loss of the image of God, wherein the beauty and harmony of 
all our faculties, in all their actings in order to their utmost 
end, did consist; that enmity unto God, even in the mind which 
ensued thereon; that darkness which our understandings were 
clouded, yea, blinded withal; the spiritual death which passed 
on the whole soul, and total alienation from the life of God; 
that impotency unto good; that inclination unto evil; that de- 
ceitfulness of sin; that power and efficacy of corrupt lusts, 
which the Scripture and experience so fully charge on the state 
of lost nature, are rejected as empty notions or fables. No 
■vonder if such persons look upon imputed righteousness as the 


shadow of a dream, who esteem those things which evidence 
its necessity, to be but fond imaginations. And small hope is 
there to bring such men to value the righteousness of Christ, 
as imputed to them, who are so unacquainted with their own 
uiirigiiteousness inherent in them. Until men know them- 
selves better, they will care very little to know Christ at all. 

Against such as these tlie doctrine of justification may bo 
defended, as we are obliged to contend for the faith once de- 
livered to the saints, and as the mouths of gainsayers are to 
be stopped. But to endeavour their satisfaction in it, whilst 
they are under the power of such apprehensions, is a vain 
attempt. As our Saviour said to them to whom he had de- 
clared the necessity of regeneration ; "If I have told you 
earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I 
tell you heavenly things?" so may we say, if men will not 
believe those things, whereof it would be marvellous, but that 
the reason of it is known, that they have not an undeniable 
evidence and experience in themselves, how can they believe 
those heavenly mysteries which respect a supposition of that 
within themselves which they will not acknowledge ? 

Hence some are so far from any concernment in a perfect 
righteousness to be imputed to them, as that they boast of a 
perfection in themselves. So did the Pelagians of old, glory of 
a sinless perfection in the sight of God, even when they were 
convinced of sinful miscarriages in the sight of men, as they 
are charged by Jerome, lib. 2. Dialog, and by Austin, lib. 2, 
contra Julian, cap. 8. Such persons are not fit subjects for 
hearing the gospel. Men who have no sense in their own 
hearts and consciences of the spiritual disorder of their souls, of 
the secret continual actings of sin, with deceit and violence ob- 
structing all that is good, promoting all that is evil, defiling all 
that is done by them through the lusting of the flesh against the 
spirit, as contrary to it, though no outward perpetration of 
sin nor actual omission of duty do ensue thereon ; who are not 
engaged in a constant watchful conflict against the first mo- 
tions of sin, to whom they are not the greatest burden and 
sorrow in this life, causing them to cry out for deliverance from 
them ; who can despise those who make acknowledgments in 
their confession to God, of their sense of these things, with 
the guilt wherewith they are accompanied, will with an assured 
confidence reject and contemn what is offered about justifica- 
tion through the obedience and righteousness of Christ imputed 
to us. For no man will be so fond as to be solicitous of a 


righteousness that is not his own, who has at home in a readi- 
ness that whicli is his own, whicli will serve his turn. It is 
there tore the ignorance of these things alone, that can delude 
men into an apprehension of their justification before God by 
their own personal righteousness. For if they were acquaint- 
ed Willi' (lieui, they would quickly discern such an imperfection 
in the best of their duties, such a frequency of sinful irregulari- 
ties in their minds, and disorders in their affections, such an 
unsuitablencss in all that they are and do, from the inward 
frames of their hearts to all their outward actions, to the great- 
ness and holiness of God, as would abate their confidence in 
placing any trust in their own righteousness for their justifi- 

By means of these and the like presumptuous conceptions of 
unenlightened minds, the consciences of men are kept ofi' from 
being affected with a due sense of sin, and a serious considera- 
tion how they may obtain acceptance before God. Neither 
the consideration of the holiness or terror of the Lord ; nor the 
severity of the law as it indispensably requires a righteous- 
ness in compliance with its commands; nor the promise of the 
gospel declaring and tendering a righteousness, the righteous- 
ness of God in answer thereunto : nor the uncertainty of their 
own minds upon trials and surprisals, as having no stable 
ground of peace to anchor on; nor the constant secret disquiet- 
ment of their consciences, if not seared or hardened through 
the deceitfulness of sin; can prevail with them whose thoughts 
are prepossessed with such slight conceptions of the state and 
guilt of sin, to lly for refuge to the only hope that is set before 
them, or really and distinctly to comport with the only way of 
deliv^erance and salvation. 

Wherefore if we would either teach or learn the doctrine of 
justification hi a due manner, a clear apprehension of the great- 
ness of oin- apostasy from God, a due sense of the guilt of 
sin, a deep experience of its power, all w4th respect to 
tlie holiness and law of God, are necessary to us. We 
have nothing to do in this matter with men who through the 
fever of pride have lost the understanding of their own miser- 
able condition. For as Austin remarks, "Nature is so evi- 
dently depraved, that not to see it, is a proof of the greatest 
depravity."* The whole need not the physician but the sick. 
Those who are pricked to the heart for sin, and cry out What 

* Natura sic apparel vitiata ut hoc majoris vitii sit non videre. 


shall we do to be saved? will understand wliat we have to say 
Against others we must defend the truth as God shall enable. 
And it may be made good by all sorts of instances, that as men 
rise in their notions about the extenuation of sin, so they fall in 
their regard to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. And it 
is no less true also on the otlier hand, as unbelief works in 
men a disesteem of the person and righteousness of Christ, they 
are cast inevitably to seek for countenance to their own 
consciences, in the extenuation of sin. So insensibly are the 
minds of men diverted from Christ and seduced to place their 
confidence in tliemselves. Some confused respect they have 
to him, as a relief they know not how nor wherein ; but 
they live in that pretended height of human wisdom, to trust 
to themselves. So they are instructed to do by the best of the 
philosophers. " There is but one good, which is the cause and 
support of a happy life; that is to trust in yourself,"* Hence 
also is the internal sanctifying grace of God among many 
equally despised with the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ. The sum of their faith, and of their arguments in the 
confirmation of it, is given by the learned Roman orator and 
philosopher. " No man ever thanks God for virtue ; and 
rightly too. For our virtue is a just ground of praise and 
glorying, which would not be the case if we had it as a gift 
from God, and not from ourselves."t 

4. The opposition that the Scripture makes between grace 
and works in general, with the exclusion of the one and the 
assertion of the other in our justification, deserves a previous 
consideration. The opposition intended is not made between 
grace and works or our own obedience, as to their essence, 
nature and consistency in the order and method of our salva- 
tion, but only with respect to our justification. I do not de- 
sign herein to plead any particular testimonies of Scripture as 
to their especial sense or declaration of the mind of the Holy 
Ghost in them, which will afterwards be with some diligence 
inquired into ; but only to take a view which way the eye of 
the Scripture guides our apprehensions, and what compliance 
there is in our own experience with that guidance. 

The principal seat of this doctrine, as will be confessed by 

* Uniim bonum est, quod beatse vitae causa et firmamentum est, tibi fide- 
re. Senec. Epist. 31. 

t Virtutem nemo unquam Deoacceptam retulit; niminim recte. Propter 
vii'tutem enim jure laudamur, et in virtute recte gloriamur, quod non con- 
tingeret, si doiium a Deo, non a nobis haberenius. Tull. de ISat. Deor. 



ail, is in the Epistles of Paul to the Romans and Galatians, 
whereto that also to the Hebrews may be added. But in 
that to the Romans it is most eminently declared. For therein 
is it handled by the Apostle ex proftsso at large, and that both 
doctrinally, and in the way of controversy with them by whom 
the truth was opposed. And it is worth our consideration 
what process he makes towards the declaration of it, and what 
principles he proceeds upon therein. 

1. He lays it down as the fundamental maxim which he 
would proceed upon, or as a general thesis including the sub- 
stance of what he designed to explain and prove, that, in the 
gospel "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, 
as it is written. The just shall Uve by faith," chap. i. 1 7. All sorts 
of men who had any knowledge of God and themselves were 
then, as they must be always, inquiring, and in one degree or 
ether labouring after righteousness. For this they looked on, 
and that justly, as the only means of an advantageous relation 
between God and themselves. Neither had the generality of 
men any other thoughts, but that this righteousness must be 
their own, inherent in them, and performed by them, as Rom. 
X. 3. For as this is the language of a natural conscience, and 
of the law, and suited to all philosophical notions concerning 
the nature of righteousness; so whatever testimony was given 
of another kind in the law and the prophets, (as such a testi- 
mony is given to a righteousness of God without the law, 
chap. iii. 21,) there was a veil upon it as to the understanding 
of all sorts of men. As therefore righteousness is that which 
all men seek after, and cannot but seek after who design or 
desire acceptance with God, so it is in vain to inquire of the 
law, of a natural conscience, of philosophical reason, after any 
righteousness but what consists in inherent habits and acts of 
our own. Neither law, nor natural conscience, nor reason, do 
know any other. But in opposition to this righteousness of 
our own, and the necessity thereof, testified to by the law, 
in its primitive constitution, by the natural light of conscience, 
and the apprehension of the nature of things by reason, the 
apostle declares that in the gospel there is revealed another 
righteousness which is also the righteousness of another, the 
righteousness of God, and that from faith to faith. For not 
only is the righteousness itself revealed foreign from those other 
principles, but also the manner of our participation of it, or its 
communication to us from faith to faith, (the faith of God in 
the revelation, and our faith in the acceptation of it, being only 


here concenied) is an eminent revelation. Rigliteonsness of 
all things should rather seem to be from works to works, 
from the work of grace in us, to the works of obedience done 
by us, as the papists affirm. No, says the apostle, it is from 
faith to faith, whereof afterwards. 

This is the general thesis the Apostle proposes for confirma- 
tion, and he seems therein to exclude from justification every 
thing but the righteousness of God and the faith of believers. 
And to this purpose he considers all persons that did or might 
pretend to righteousness or seek after it, and all ways and 
means whereby they hoped to attain to it, or whereby it 
might most probably be obtained, declaring the failing of 
all persons, and the insufficiency of all means as to them, for 
the obtaining a righteousness of our own before God. And as 
to persons, 

1. He considers the Gentiles, with all their notions of God, 
their practice in religious worship, with their conversation 
thereon. And from the whole of what might be observed 
amongst them, he concludes that they neither were, nor could 
be justified before God, but that they were ah, and that most 
deservedly, obnoxious to the sentence of death. And what- 
ever men may discourse concerning the justification and salva- 
tion of any, without tlie revelation of the righteousness of God 
by the Gospel from faith to faith, it is expressly contradictory 
to his whole discourse, chap. i. from ver. 19 to the end. 

2. He considers the Jews who enjoyed the written law, and 
the privileges wherewith it was accompanied, especially that 
of circumcision, which was the outward seal of God's cove- 
nant. And on many considerations, with many arguments, he 
excludes them also from any possibility of attaining justifica- 
tion before God by any of the privileges they enjoyed, or their 
own compliance therewithal, chap. ii. And both sorts he ex- 
cludes distinctly from this privilege of righteousness before God, 
with tins one argument, that both of them sinned openly against 
that which they took for the rule of their righteousness, namely, 
the Gentiles against the light of nature, and the JeAvs against 
the law ; whence it inevitably follows, that none of them could 
attain to the righteousness of their own rule. But he proceeds 
further to that which is common to them all. And, 

3. He proves the same against all sorts of persons, whether 
Jews or Gentiles, from the consideration of the universal de- 
pravation of nature in them all, and the horrible effects that 
necessarily ensue thereon in the hearts and lives of men, chap. 


iii. So evLbiicins, that as they all were, so it could not fall 
out but tiiat all must be shut up under sin, and come short of 
righteousness. So from persons he proceeds to things or means 
oi righteousness. And, 

4. Because the law was given of God immediately as the 
whole and only rule of our obedience to him, and the works of 
the law are therefore all that is required of us, these may be 
pleaded with some pretence as those whereby we maybe justi- 
fied. Wherefore in particular he considers the nature, use, and 
cud of the law, manifesting its utter insufficiency to be a means 
of our justification before God, chap. iii. 19, 20. 

5. It may be yet objected, tliat the law and its works may 
be thus insufficient as it is obeyed by unbelievers in the state 
of nature, without the aids of grace administered in the pro- 
mise ; but with respect to them who are regenerate and do 
believe, whose faith and works are accepted with God, it may 
be otherwise. To obviate this objection, he gives an instance 
in two of the most eminent believers under the Old Testament, 
namely, Abraham and David, declaring that all works what- 
ever were excluded in and from their justification, chap. iv. 

On these principles, and by this gradation, he peremptorily 
concludes, that all and every one of the sons of men, as to 
any thing that is in themselves or can be done by them, or 
be wrought in them, are " guilty before God," obnoxious to 
death, shut up under sin, and have their mouths so stopped, as 
to be deprived of all pleas in their own excuse ; that they had 
no righteousness wherewith to appear before God, and that all 
the ways and means whence they expected it, were insufficient 
to that purpose. 

Hereon he proceeds with his inquiry how men may be de- 
livered from this condition, and come to be justified in the sight 
of God. And in the resolution hereof he makes no mention 
of any thing in themselves, but only faith whereby we receive 
the atonement. That whereby we are justified, he says, is the 
righteousness of God which is by the faith of Christ Jesus, or 
that we are justified freely by grace through the redemption 
that is in him, chap. iii. 22 — 25. And not content here 
with this answer to the inquiry how lost convinced sinners 
may come to be justified before God, namely, that it is by the 
righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, by grace, by 
the blood of Clirist, as he is set forth for a propitiation; he im- 
mediately proceeds to a positive exclusion of every thing in 
and of ourselves that might pretend to an interest herein, as 


that which is inconsistent with the righteousness of God as 
revealed in the gospel, and witnessed to by the law and the 
prophets. How contrary their scheme of divinity is to this 
design of the Apostle, and his management of it, who athrm 
that before the law men were justified by obedience to the 
light of nature, and some particular revelations made to them 
in things of their own especial private concernment; and that 
after the giving of the law they were so by obedience to God 
according to the directions thereof, as also that the heathen 
might obtain the same benefit in compliance with the dictates 
of reason, cannot be contradicted by any who have not a mind 
to be contentious. 

Answerable to this declaration of the mind of the Holy 
Ghost herein by the Apostle, is the constant tenor of the Scrip- 
ture speaking to the same purpose. The grace of God, the pro- 
mise of mercy, the free pardon of sin, the blood of Christ, his 
obedience and the righteousness of God in him, rested in and 
received by faith, are every where asserted as the causes and 
means of our justification, in opposition to any thing in oiu:- 
selves, so expressed as it useth to express the best of our obedi- 
ence and the utmost of our personal righteousness. Wherever 
mention is made of the duties, obedience, and personal right- 
eousness of the best of men with respect to their justification, 
they are all renounced by them, and they betake themselves 
to sovereign grace and mercy alone. Some places to this pur- 
pose may be recounted. 

The foundation of the whole is laid in the first promise 
wherein the destruction of the work of the devil by the suffer- 
ing of the seed of the woman, is proposed as the only relief for 
sinners, and only means of the recovery of the favour of God. 
" It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel," Gen. 
iii. 1 5. " Abraham believed in the Lord, and he counted it 
unto him for righteousness," Gen. xv. 6. " And Aaron shall 
lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess 
over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their 
transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the 
goat ; and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto 
a land not inhabited," Lev. xvi. 21, 22. "I wiU go in the 
strength of the Lord God, I will make mention of thy right- 
eousness, even of thine only," Psal. Ixxi. 16. " If thou shouldst 
mark iniquity, Lord, who shall stand? but there is forgive- 
ness with thee that thou mayest be feared," Psal. cxxx. 3, 4. 
" Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight 


shall no man living be justified," Psal. cxliii. 2. " Behold, he 
■ put no trust in liis servants, and his augels he charged with 
folly, how much less on them that dwell in houses of clay, 
whose foundation is in the dust," Job iv. 18, 19. " Fury is 
not in me ; who would set the briers and thorns against me in 
battle ? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 
Or let him take hold of my strength that he may make peace 
with me, and he shall make peace with me," Isa. xxvii. 4, 5. 
" Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and 
strength, in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified and 
glory," Isa. xlv. 24, 25. " All we like sheep have gone astray, 
we have turned everv one to his own way, and the Lord hath 
laid on him the iniquity of us all. By his knowledge shall my 
righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniqui- 
ties," Isa. liii. 6, 11. " For this is his name whereby he shall 
be called, the Lord our Righteousness," Jer. xxiii. 6. " But 
we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are 
as filthy rags," Isa. xliv. 6. " He shall finish the transgression 
and make an end of sin, and make reconciliation for iniquity, 
and bring in everlasting righteousness," Dan. ix. 24. " Unto 
as many as received him he gave power to become the sons of 
Ged, even to them that believe in his name," John i. 12. "For 
as JNIoses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must 
the Sou of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, but have everlasting life," chap. iii. 14, 15; 
see ver. 16 — 18. "Be it known therefore unto you men and 
brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the for- 
giveness of sins, and by him all that believe are justified from 
all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of 
Moses," Acts xiii. 38, 39. " That they may receive forgive- 
ness of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified by 
faith that is in me," chap. xxvi. 18. " Being justified freely by 
his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ, Jesus whom 
God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his 
blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that 
are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare at this 
time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier 
of him that believeth in Jesus. Where then is boasting? it is 
excluded : by what law ? of works ? nay, but by the law of 
faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith 
without the deeds of the law," Rom. iii. 24 — 28. " For if 
Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, 
out not before God ; for what saith the Scripture ? Abraham be- 


lieved God, and it was counted to him for righteousness ; now 
to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace 
but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but beheveth on 
him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for right- 
eousness. Even as David also descriheth the blessedness of 
the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without 
works, saying, Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, 
and whose sins are covered ; Blessed is the man unto whom 
the Lord will not impute sin," Rom. iv. 2 — 8. " But not as 
the offence, so also is the free gift ; for if through the olfence 
of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the 
gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded 
unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the 
gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation: but the 
free gift is of many offences unto justil&cation. For if by one 
man's offence death reigned by one, much more they which 
receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall 
reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence 
of one judgment came upon all men unto condemnation, even 
so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men 
unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience 
many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall 
many be made righteous," chap. v. 15 — 19. " There is there- 
fore no condemnation unto them which are in Christ Jesus, 
who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the law 
of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the 
law of sin and death ; for what the law could not do, in that 
it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in 
the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the 
flesh. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled 
in us," chap. viii. 1 — 4. " For Christ is the end of the law 
for righteousness unto every one that believeth," chap. x. 4. 
" And if by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace 
is no more grace ; but if it be of works, then it is no more grace, 
otherwise work is no more work," chap. xi. 6. "But of him 
are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom 
and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," 1 Cor. 
i. 30. " For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no 
sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," 
2 Cor. V. 21. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the 
works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ: even we 
have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the 
faith of Chi-ist, and not by the works of the law : for by the 


works of the law shall no flesh be justified," Gal. ii. 16. "But 
that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, is evi- 
dent. For the just shall live by faith, and the law is not of 
faith; but the man that doth them shall live in them. Christ 
hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse 
for us," chap. iii. 1 1 — 1 3. " For by grace ye are saved through 
faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of 
works, lest any man should boast. For Ave are his workman- 
ship, created in Christ Jesus imto good works, which God hath 
before ordained that we should walk in them," Ephes. ii. 8 — 10. 
" Yea, doubtless, and I count all things loss for the excellency 
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have 
suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung 
that I may win Christ ; and be found in him, not having my 
own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is 
through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God 
by faith," Phil. iii. 8, 9. "Who hath saved us and called us 
with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according 
unto his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ 
Jesus before the world began," 2 Tim. i. 9. " That being justi- 
fied by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope 
of eternal life," Tit. iii. 7. "He hath once appeared in the end 
of the world to put away sin," Heb. ix. 26. 28. "Having in 
himself purged our sins," chap. i. 3. " For by one otfering he 
hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified," chap. x. 14. 
" For the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, cleanseth us 
from all sin," 1 John i. 7. "Wherefore unto him that loved 
us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath 
made us kings and priests unto God and his father, to him be 
glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Rev. i. 5, 6. 
These are some of the places which at present occur to 
remembrance, wherein the Scripture represents to us the 
grounds, causes, and reasons of our acceptation with God. 
The especial import of many of them, and the evidence of truth 
that is in them, will be afterwards considei-ed. Here we take 
only a general view of them. And every thing in and of our- 
selves under any consideration whatever, seems to be excluded 
from our justification before God, faith alone excepted whereby 
we receive his grace and the atonement. And on the other 
side, the whole of our acceptation with him seems to be as- 
signed to grace, mercy, the obedience and blood of Christ ; 
in opposition to our own worth and righteousness, or our 
own works and obedience. And I cannot but suppose that the 


soul of a convinced sinner, if not prepossessed witli prejudice, 
will in general not judge amiss whether of these things that are 
set ill opposition one to the other, he should betake himself to, 
that he may be justified. 

But it is replied, these things are not to be understood abso- 
lutely and without limitations. Sundry distinctions are neces- 
sary, that we may come to understand the mind of the Holy 
Ghost and sense of the Scripture in these ascriptions to grace, 
and exclusions of the law, our own works and righteousness 
from our justification. For (1.) the law is either the moral or 
the ceremonial law ; the latter indeed is excluded from any 
place in our justification, but not the former. (2.) Works re- 
quired by the law are either wrought before faith, without the 
aid of grace ; or after believing, by the help of the Holy Ghost. 
The former are excluded from our justification, but not the 
latter. (3.) Works of obedience wrought after grace received, 
may be considered either as sincere only, or absolutely perfect, 
according to what was originally required in the covenant of 
works. Those of the latter sort are excluded from any place 
in our justification, but not those of the former. (4.) There is 
a two-fold justification before God in this life, a first and a 
second ; and we must diligently consider with respect to 
whether of these justifications any thing is spoken in the Scrip- 
ture. (5.) Justification may be considered either as to its be- 
ginning, or as to its continuation, and so it has divers causes 
under these divers respects, (6.) Works may be considered 
either as meritorious ex condigno, so as their merit should arise 
from their own intrinsic worth, or ex congruo, only with respect 
to the covenant and promise of God. Those of the first sort 
are excluded, at least from the first justification ; the latter may 
have place both in the first and second. (7.) Moral causes may 
be of many sorts ; preparatory, dispository, meritorious, condi- 
tionally efficient, or only sine quibus non. And we must 
diligently inquire in what sense, under the notion of what cause 
or causes, our works are excluded from our justification, and 
under what notions they are necessary thereunto. And there 
is no one of these distinctions but it needs many more to ex- 
plain it, which accordingly are made use of by learned men. 
And so specious a colour may be put on these things, when 
warily managed by the art of disputation, that very few are 
able to discern the ground of them, or what there is of substance 
in that which is pleaded for; and fewer yet, on whether side the 
truth doth lie. But he who is really convinced of sin, and 



beiii2: also sensible of what it is to enter into judgment with the 
holy God, inquires for himself and not for others, how he may 
come to be accepted with him, will be apt upon the considera- 
tion of all these distinctions and sub-distinctions wherewith 
they are attended, to say to their authors, Fecistis probe ; incer- 
tior sum nmlto, quam dudum. " You have done well ! I am 
much more at a loss than before." My inquiry is, how shall I 
come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God ? 
how shall I escape the wrath to come ? what shall I plead in 
judgment before God, that I maybe absolved, acquitted, justi- 
fied ? where shall I have a righteousness that will endure a 
trial in his presence ? If I should be harnessed with a thousand 
of these distinctions, I am afraid they would prove thorns and 
briars, which he would pass through and consume. 

The inquiry therefore is, upon the consideration of the state 
of the person to be justified before mentioned and described, 
and the proposal of the reliefs in our justification as now ex- 
pressed, whether it be the wisest and safest course for such a 
person seeking to be justified before God, to betake himself 
absolutely, his whole trust and confidence, to sovereign grace 
and the mediation of Christ, or to have some reserve for, or 
to place some confidence in, his own graces, duties, works 
and obedience. In putting this great dillerence to umpirage, 
that we may not be thought to fix on a partial arbitrator, we 
shall refer it to one of our greatest and most learned adversa- 
ries in this cause. And he positively gives us his determi- 
nation and resolution in those known words.* " By reason of 
the uncertainty of our own righteousness, and the danger of 
vain glory, it is the safest course to repose our whole trust in 
the mercy and kindness or grace of God alone," 

And this determination of this important inquiry, he con- 
firms with two testimonies of Scripture, as he might have done 
it with many more. But those which he thought meet to men- 
tion are not impertinent. The first is Dan. ix. 18. "We do not 
present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses but 
for thy great mercies." And the other is that of our Saviour, 
Luke xvii. 10. " When ye have done all these things which are 
commanded you, say. We are vmprofitable servants." And 
after he has confirmed his resolution with sundry testimonies 
of the fathers, he closes his discourse with this dilemma, 

* Propter incertitudinem proprifB justitise, et periciilum inanis gloriae, 
tutissirrnim est fiduciam totain in sola misericordia Dei et benignitate re- 
poiicre, Bellar. de Justificat. lib. v. cap. 7, prop. 3, 


" E'ther a man hath true merits, or he hath not. If he hath 
not, he is perniciously deceived (when he trusts in auy 
thing but the mercy of God alone) and seduces himself, trust- 
ing in false merits. If he has them, he loses nothing whilst 
he looks not to them, but trusts in God alone." So that 
whether a man have any good works or no, as to his justifica- 
tion before God, it is best and safest for him, not to have any 
regard to them, or put any trust in them. And if this l)e so, 
he might have spared all his pains he took in writing his so- 
phistical books about justification, whose principal design is to 
seduce the minds of men into a contrary opinion. And so, for 
aught I know, they may spare their labour also witliout any 
disadvantage to the church of God, or their own souls, who 
so earnestly contend for some kind of interest or other, for our 
own duties and obedience in our justification before God, see- 
ing it will be found that they place their own whole trust and 
coufidence in the grace of God by Jesus Christ alone. For to 
what purpose do we labour and strive with endless disputa- 
tions, arguments and distinctions to prefer our duties and obe- 
dience to some office in our justification before God, if when 
we have done all, we find it the safest course in our own per- 
sons to abhor ourselves with Job in the presence of God, to 
betake ourselves to sovereign grace and mercy with the pub- 
lican, and to place all our confidence in them through the obe- 
dience and blood of Christ ? 

So died that great Emperor Charles V. as Thuanus gives the 
account of his Novissima. So he reasoned with himself;* 
" That in himself he was altogether unworthy to obtain the 
kingdom of heaven by his own works or merits, but that his 
Lord God who enjoyed it on a double right or title, by inheri- 
tance of the Father, and the merit of his own passion, was 
contented with the one himself, and freely granted unto him 
the other; on whose free grant he laid claim thereunto, and in 
confidence thereof he should not be confounded; for the oil of 
mercy is poured only into the vessel of faith or trust ; that this 

* Se quidetn indignum esse qui propriis mentis regnum coelorum obtineret; 
sed Doininum Deum suum qui illud duplici jure obtineat, et natris ha3reditate, 
et passionis merito, altero contentum esse, alterum sibi donare ; ex cujus 
dono illud sibi merito vendicet, hacque fiducia fretus minime confiindatur; 
neque enim oleum misericordias nisi in vase fiducia; poni; banc bominis fidu- 
ciam esse a se deficientis et innitentis domino suo; alioquin propriis mentis 
fidere, non fidei esse sed perfidia3 ; peccata deleri per Dei indulgentiam, ide- 
oque credere nos debere peccata deleri non posse nisi ab eo cui soli pecca- 
vimus, et in quem peccatum non cadit, per quern solum nobis peccata con- 


is the trust of a man despairing in himself, and resting in his 
Lord ; otherwise to trust to his own works or merits, is not 
taith hut treachery ; that sins are blotted out by the mercy of 
God; and therefore we ought to believe that our sins can be par- 
doned by him alone against whom alone we have sinned; with 
whom there is no sin, and by whom alone sins are forgiven." 

This is the faith of men when they come to die, and of those 
who are exercised with temptations whilst they live. Some 
are hardened in sin, and endeavour to leave this world with- 
out thoughts of another. Some are stupidly ignorant, who 
neither know nor consider what it is to appear in the presence 
of God, and to be judged by him. Some are seduced to place 
their confidence in merits, pardons, indulgences, and future 
suffrages for the dead. But such as are acquainted with God 
and themselves in any spiritual manner, who take a view of 
the time that is past, and approaching eternity, into which they 
must enter by the judgment seat of God, however they may 
have thought, talked, and disputed about their own works and 
obedience, looking on Christ and his righteousness only to 
make up some small defects in themselves, will come at last 
to an universal renunciation of what they have been and are, 
and betake themselves to Christ alone for righteousness or 
salvation. And in the whole ensuing discourse I shall as little 
as is possible mix myself in any curious scholastical disputes. 
This is the substance of what is pleaded for, that men should 
renounce all confidence in themselves, and every thing that 
may give countenance thereunto ; betaking themselves to 
the grace of God by Christ alone, for righteousness and salva- 
tion. This God designs in the gospel, 1 Cor. i. 29 — 31, and 
herein, whatever ditficulties we may meet withal in the expli- 
cation of some propositions and terms that belong to the doc- 
trine of justification, about which men have various concep- 
tions, I doubt not of the internal concurrent suffrage of them 
who know any thing as they ought of God and themselves. 

Fifthly, There is in the Scripture represented to us a com- 
mutation between Christ and believers, as to sin and right- 
eousness, that is, in the imputation of their sins to him, and 
of his righteousness to them. In the improvement and appli- 
cation hereof to our own souls, no small part of the life and 
exercise of faith consists. 

This was taught the church of God in offering of the scape 
goat. " And Aaron shall lay his hands on the head of tlio live 
goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the chiMieu of 


Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them 
on the head of the goat ; and the goat shall bear upon him all 
their iniquities," Levit. xvi, 21, 23. Whether this goat sent 
away with this burthen upon him did live, and so was a type 
of the iife of Christ in his resurrection after his death, or whe- 
ther he perished in the wilderness, being cast down the preci- 
pice of a rock by him that conveyed him away as the Jews 
suppose ; it is generally acknowledged, that what was done to 
him and with him, was only a representation of what was done 
really in the person of Jesus Christ. And Aaron did not only 
confess the sins of the people over the goat, but he also put 
them all on his head, iv^'ir-^'^ '^y chn sr ji "and he shall give them 
all to be on the head of the goat;" in answer whereto it is 
said that he bare them all upon him. This he did by virtue of 
the divine institution, wherein was a ratification of what was 
done. He did not transfuse sin from one subject into another, 
but transferred the guilt of it from one to another. And to 
evidence this translation of sin from the people to the sacri- 
fice, in his confession he put and fixed both his hands on its 
head. Thence the Jews say, that all Israel was made as inno- 
cent on the day of expiation as they were in the day of crea- 
tion ; — from ver. 30. Wherein they came short of perfection or 
consummation thereby, the Apostle declares, Heb. x. But this 
is the language of every expiatory sacrifice, quod in ejus caput 
sit; let the guilt be on him. Hence the sacrifice itself was 
called ^••<'^n and Ow-n sin and guilt, Levit. iv. 29, vii. 2, 10, 17. 
And therefore where there was an uncertain murder, and none 
could be found that was liable to punishment thereon, that 
guilt might not come upon the land, nor the sin be imputed to 
the whole people, an heifer was to be slain by the elders of 
the city that was next to the place where the murder was 
committed to take away the guilt of it. Dent. 1 — 7. But 
whereas this was only a moral representation of the punish- 
ment due to guilt, and no sacrifice, the guilty persons being 
not known ; those who slew the heifer did not put their hands 
on her, so to transfer their own guilt to her, but washed their 
hands over her, to declare their personal innocency. By these 
means, as in all other expiatory sacrifices, did God instruct the 
church in the transferring of the guilt of sin, to Him who was 
to bear all their iniquities, with their discharge and justifica- 
tion thereby. 

So God " laid on Christ the iniquities of us all," that " by 
his stripes we might be healed," Isa. liii. 5, 6. Our iniquity 



was laid on him, and lie bare it, ver. 11, and through his hear- 
ing of it, we are freed from it. His stripes are our healing ; 
our Sin w as his, imputed to him ; his merit is ours, imputed 
to us. " He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that 
we might become the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor. 
V. 21. This is that commutation I mentioned. He was made 
sin for us, we are made the righteousness of God in him; God 
not imputing sin to us, ver. 19, but imputing righteousness 
to us, doth it on this ground alone, that he was " made sin 
for us." And if by his being made sin, only his being made a 
sacrifice for sin is intended, it is to the same purpose. For the 
formal reason of any thing being made an expiatory sacrifice, 
was the imputation of sin to it by divine institution. The same 
is expressed by the same Apostle, Rom. viii. 3, 4. " God send- 
ing his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, con- 
demned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might 
be fulfilled in us." The sin was made his, he answered for it, 
and the righteousness which God requires by the law is made 
ours ; the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us ; not by our 
doing it, but by his. This is that blessed change and commu- 
tation wherein alone the soul of a convinced sinner can find 
rest and peace. So he hath " redeemed us from the curse of 
the law, being made a curse for us, that the blessing of faithful 
Abraham might come upon us," Gal. iii. 13, 14. The curse of 
the law contained all that was due to sin ; this belonged unto 
us. Bat it was transferred on him. He was made a curse, 
whereof his hanging on a tree was the sign and token. Hence 
he is said to " bear all our sins in his own body upon the tree," 
1 Pet. i. 24, because his hanging on the tree was the token of 
his bearing the curse. For he that is hanged on a tree is the 
curse of God, Deut. xxi. 23. And in the blessing of faithful 
Abraliam, all righteousness and acceptation with God is in- 
cluded ; for Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him 
for righteousness. 

But because some, who for reasons best known to them- 
selves, do take all occasions to except against my writings, 
have in particular raised an impertinent clamour about some- 
what that I formerly delivered to this purpose, I shall declare 
the whole of my judgment herein, in the words of some 
of those whom they can pretend no quarrel against that I 
know of. 

The excellent words of Justin Martyr deserve the first 
place. " He gave his Son a ransom for us ; the Holy for trans- 


gressors; tlie iaaocent for the nocent; the just for the unjust; 
the incorruptible for the corrupt; the immortal for mortals. 
For what else could hide or cover our sins but his righteous- 
ness? in whom else could we wicked and ungodly ones be 
justified, [or esteemed righteous,] but in the Son of God alone? 
SWEET COMMUTATION; [or change !] unsearchable 
work [or curious operation!] blessed beneficence exceeding 
all expectation ! That the iniquity of many should be hid in 
one just one, and the righteousness of one should justify many 
transgressors."* And Gregory Nyssen speaks to the same 
purpose. " He hath transferred unto himself the filth of our 
sins, and communicated unto me his purity, and made me par- 
taker of his beauty."t So Augustine also. "He was sin that 
we might be righteousness, not our own but the righteousness 
of God, not in ourselves but in him. As he was sin not his 
own but ours ; not in himself but in us. "J The old Latin trans- 
lation rendering those words, Psal. xxii. 1. TUNa-nai Verba 
delictorum fneontm ; he thus comments on the place. "How, 
saith he, of my sins ; but because he prayeth for our sins ; and 
hath made our sins to be his, that he might make his righteous- 
ness to be ours ?"§ w trji yxvxuai avraxxayrji; swect Commutation 
and change ! And Chrysostom to the same purpose ; on those 
words of the apostle, " That we might be made the righteous- 
ness of God in him."|| " What word, what speech is this, 
what mind can comprehend or express it ? for he saith, he 

* A'irof Tov iSiov iiiov aneioTO \vTpov vncp ^/jcji', tou ayiov irrcp twv avujtwv. tov aKaKOv vrrep 
Tdiv KaK(ov. TOV liiKaiov vrrep Tbiv adtKOiv^ tov aipOapTOv incp t(ov 6vi]To>t' Tt yap aWo ra; ajiap- 
Tiaj im'ov niwTiQTi KaXvipai 17 CKetvov 6ixaioavvri ; ev rivt SiKaiuidrjvat ivvarov rouj avofiov^ y'l/ias 
Kat aotleti i) £v povu tcj vio) tov 6i.ov; w mi yXvKcta; airaXXayiif, w rjjt avc^iXvtaarov iriniovpt 
yiof, OJ raiv airpouioKrinov toepYiotuii' iva aiofita ficv iroX/Xo)!/ ev iiKato} Ivi xpvipdri^ itxatoavvri 
ic I' Of TToXXooj avOjiOVi StKaKoarj. Epist. ad Diognct. 

t MfniOEis yap ffpof lanTov tov tcjv iifiMv aftapTiiiiv pvTTOv^ nCTt?iii)K£ fioi Tr)i iavTOu xadapoT' 
riTOi' Koivoi'ov lie TOV eavTon KaWovf aircpyaaaptvoi. Orat. il. ID Cant. 

I Ipse peccatum ut nos justitia, nee nostra sed Dei ; nee in nobis sed in 
ipso, sicut ipse peccatum non suum sed nostrum, nee in se sed in nobis con- 
stitutum. Encbirid. ad Laurent, cap. 41. 

§ Quomodo ergo dicit, delictorum meorum, nisi quia pro delictis nostris 
ipse precatur; et delicta nostra, delicta sua fecit, ut justitiam susni nostram 
justiliam faceret ? 

II lloiif TOvra Xoyoj, iroioj raVTa wapaaTrjaoi Swrjasrat vovi ; tov yap 6tKaiov^(prtatv^ enoirjasv 
afiJprojXor, Iva TO"i apapTUiXov; voirjor] StKaioi'i, ixaWov itj ovSs owruj etrrcv ', aWa b jroXXa> 
fici^ov >;i ; oil yap l^iv c.Qr\K£v^ aXX' auriji/ rriv TroioTtjTa, 6v yap eirrev^ enotriaev anapTO)\ov^ aXX' 
atop'tai', ov\,i TOV pEv apapTOvovTa povov^ a}i\a tov prjie yvovTO afiiipriai', 'iva Kat iipcii yr.vrj-m 
/ifOa, oi'K £ijr£, (Siifaioi, aWa SiKaioawn, diov yap eanv avrn^Srav prj e| jpyMi' (oraf irai Kn^tfa 
a'ayvn rtva un c!>iirif>nvni) aXX' an-o \apiro{ 6iKaiuOuiii£v, evOa nacra afxapna si/iariorai, lu 2 

Epist. ad Corinth, cap. v. Horn. 11. 


made him who was righteous to be made a simier, that he 
miffht make sinners rigliteous; nor yet doth he say so merely, 
but that wliich is far more subhme and excellent. For lie 
speaks not of an inclination or affection, but expresseth the 
quality itself. For he says not, he made him a sinner, but sin, 
that we might be made not merely righteous but righteousness, 
and that, the righteousness of God, when we are justified not 
by works, (for if we should, there must be no spot found 
in them) but by grace, whereby all sin is blotted out. " So 
Bernard also Epist. 190, ad Innocent. "It was man who 
owed the debt, it was man who paid it. For, he says, 'if 
one died for all, then were all dead ;' to wit, that the satisfac- 
tion of one might be imputed to all, as he alone bore the sins 
of all. Nor can it now be found that one has sinned, and 
another made satisfaction ; because Christ alone is the head 
and body."* And many more speak to the same purpose. 
Hence Luther before he engaged in the work of reformation, 
in an epistle to one George Spenlein, a monk, was not afraid 
to write after this manner; "My dear brother, learn Christ and 
him crucified; learn to sing to him, and despairing of yourself, 
to say to him, ' Thou, Lord Jesus, art my righteousness, but I 
am thy sin; thou hast assumed what was mine, and given me 
wliat was thine ; thou hast assumed what thou wast not, and 
given to me what I was not.' He has undertaken for thee, 
and made thy sins his own, and his righteousness, thine ; 
cursed is he who believeth not this."t 

If those who show themselves now so quarrelsome almost 
about every word that is spoken concerning Christ and his 
righteousness, had ever been harassed in their consciences 
about the guilt of sin, as this man was, they would think it 
no strange matter to speak and write as he did. Yea some 
there are who have lived and died in the communion of the 
church of Rome itself that have given their testimony to this 

* Homo qui debuit, homo qui solvit. Nam si unus, inquit, pro omnibus 
mortuus est, ergo omnes mortui sunt: ut videlicet satisfactio unius omnibus 
imputetur. sicut omnium peccata unus illeportavit. Nee alter jam inveniatur 
qui foras fecit, alter qui satisfecit; quia caput et corpus nnns est Christus. 

■f Mi (hilcis frater, disce Christum et hunc crucifixum, disce ci cantare, 
et de teipso desperans dicere ei : Tu Domine Jesu es justitia mea, ego au- 
tem sum peccatnm tuum; tu assnmpsisti meum, et dedisti mihi tuum, as- 
sumpsisti ((uod non eras, et dedisti inihi quod non eram. Ipse suscepit te et 
peccata tua fecit sua, et suam justiliam fecit tuam ; maledictus qui haec 
non credit. Epist. An. lalG. Tom. i. 


tvnth. So speaks Tauleriis; Meditat. vitce Christ, cap. 7.* 
"Christ took upon liim all the sins of the world, and Avil- 
liag^ly underwent such grief of heart for them, as if he him^ 
self had committed them." And again speaking in the per- 
son of Christ.T " Whereas the great sin of Adam cannot go 
away, I beseech tliee, heavenly Father, punish it in me. For I 
take all his sins upon myself. If then this tempest of anger 
be risen for me, cast me into the sea of my most bitter passion." 
See in the justification of these expressions, Heb. x. 5 — 10. 
The discourse of Albertus Pighius to this purpose, though 
often cited and urged, shall be once again repeated, both for 
its worth and truth, as also to let some men see how fondly 
they have pleased themselves in reflecting on some expressions 
of mine, as though I had been singular in them. His words 
are, after others to the same purpose : " God was in Christ, saith 
the apostle, reconciling the world unto himself; not imputing 
unto men their sins. In him, therefore, we are justified before 
God, not in ourselves, not by our own, but by his righteous- 
ness, which is imputed unto us now communicating with him. 
Wanting righteousness of our own, we are taught to seek for 
righteousness without ourselves in him. So he saith, 'him who 
knew not sin, he made to be sin for us,' that is, an expiatory 
sacrifice for sin, 'that we might be made the righteousness of 
God in him;' we are made righteous in Christ not with our own 
but with the righteousness of God. By what right? the right 
of friendship, which makes all common among friends, accord- 
ing to the ancient celebrated proverb. Being ingrafted into 
Christ, fastened, united to him, he makes his things ours, 
communicates his riches to us, interposes his righteousness 
between the judgment of God and our unrighteousness, and 
under that, as under a shield and buckler, he hides us from that 
divine wrath which we have deserved ; he defends and pro- 
tects us therewith, yea he communicates it to us, and makes it 
ours, so as that being covered and adorned therewith, we may 
boldly and securely place ourselves before the divine tribunal 
and judgment, so as not only to appear righteous, but so to be. 
For even as the apostle affirms, that by one man's fault we 
were all made sinners, so is the righteousness of Christ alone, 

* Christus omnia mundi peccata in se recepit, tantumque pro illis ultro 
sibi assumpsit dolorem cordis ac si ipse ea perpetrasset 

t Qiiandofjiiidem peccatum Adge multum abire non potest, obsecro te pater 
coelestis, iit ipsum in me vindices. Ego enim omnia illius peccata in me recipio. 
Si haec irae tempestas, propter me orta est, mitte me in mare amarissima; pass- 


efficacious in the justification of us all; and 'as by the disobedi 
euce of one man many were made sinners, so by the obedience 
of one man (saitli he) many are made righteous.' This is the 
rigiiteousness of Christ, even his obedience, whereby in all 
thinirs he fulfilled the will of his Father. As on the other hand 
om- unrighteousness is our disobedience, and our transgression 
of the commands of God. But that our righteousness is placed 
in the obedience of Christ, it is from hence, that we being in- 
corporated into him, it is accounted unto us as if it were ours; 
so as that therewith we are esteemed righteous. And as Jacob 
of old, whereas he was not the first born, being hid under the 
habit of his brother, and clothed with his garment which 
breathed a sweet savour, presented himself to his father, that 
in the person of another, he might receive the blessing of the 
primogeniture ; so is it necessary that we should lie hid under 
the precious purity of the first born, our eldest brother, be fra- 
grant with his sweet savour, and have our sin buried and 
covered with his perfection, that we may present ourselves be- 
fore our most Holy Father, to obtain from him the blessing of 
righteousness." And again ; " God therefore doth justify us by 
his free grace or goodness wherewith he embraces us in Christ 
Jesus, when he clothes us with his innocency and righteousness 
as we are ingrafted into him; for as that alone is true and perfect 
which only can endure in the sight of God, so that alone ought 
to be presented and pleaded for us before the divhie tribunal, 
as the advocate of, or plea in our cause ; resting hereon, we 
here obtain the daily pardon of sin; with whose purity being 
covered, our filth and the uncleanness of our imperfections are 
not imputed to us, but are covered as if they were buried, 
that they may not come into the judgment of God; until the 
old man being destroyed and slain in us, divine goodness re- 
ceives us into peace with the second Adam."* So far he; ex- 

* Quoniam qnidem (inquit Apostolus) Deus erat in Christo, rmindum re- 
concilians sibi, non imputans hoininibus sua delicta; et deposuit apud nos 
verburn rcconciliationis. In illo ergo justificamur coram Deo, non in nobis ; 
non nostra sed illius justitia, quae nobis cum illo jam communicantibus impu- 
tatur. Propria; justitia; inopes, extra nos, in illo docemur justitiam q\in?re- 
re. Eum, imiuit, qui peccatum non noverat, pro nobis peccatutn fecit; hoc 
est, hostiam pcccati expiatriccm, ut nos efficerenuir justitia Dei in ipso: non 
nostra, sed Dei justitia justi efficinnir in Christo; quo jure? Amicitiffi, qua; 
coinmunionem omnium inter amicos facit, juxta vetus et celebratissimum 
I)roverbiinn ; Christo insertis, conijlutinatis et unilis, et sua nostra facit, suas 
divitias nobis communicat, suam justitiam inter Patris judicium et nostram 
injustitiain interponit, et sub ea vcluti sub umbone ac clypeo a divina quam 
commeruimus, ira nos abscondit, tuetur ac proteuit, imo eandcm nobis im- 
pertit et nostram facit, qua tecti ornatique audacter et secure jam divino 


pressing the power which the influence of dii'ine truth had on 
his iniud, contrary to tlie interest of the cause wherein he was 
engaged, and the loss of his reputation with them, for whom 
in ail other things, he was one of the fiercest champions. And 
some among the Roman Church, who cannot bear tins asser- 
tion of the commutation of sin and righteousness by imputation 
between Christ and believers, no more than some among our- 
selves, do yet aflirm the same concerning the righteousness of 
other men. " Paul seems to instruct us in a kind of merchan- 
dise. He says, You abound in money and are destitute of 
righteousness ; on the contrary, they abound in righteousness 
and are in want of money. Let an exchange be made. Give 
to the pious poor the money which you have in abundance 
and they need; so they in return will communicate to you their 
rigliteousness in which they abound, and of which you are 
destitute."* But I have mentioned these testimonies princi- 
pally to be a relief to some men's ignorance, who are ready to 
speak evil of what they understand not. 

nos sistamus tribunal! et judicio : justique non solum appareamus, sed etiam 
simus. Quemadmodum enim unius delicto peccatores nos etiam factos affir- 
mat Apostolus : ita unius Christi justitiam in justificandis nobis omnibus 
efficacem esse; Et sicut per inobedientiam unius hominis peccatores consti- 
tuti sunt multi, sic per obedientiam unius justi (iuquit) constituentur multi. 
Hffic est Cliristi justitia, ejus obedientia, qua voluntatem Patris sui perfecit 
in omnibus ; sicut contra, nostra injustitia est nostra inobedientia, et manda- 
torum Dei prasvaricatio. In Christi autem obedientia quod nostra coUoca- 
tur justitia inde est, quod nobis illi incorporatis, ac si nostra esset, accepta 
ea fertur: ut ea ipsa etiam nos justi habeamur. Et velut ille quondam Ja- 
cob, quum nativitate primogenitii-s non esset, sub habitu fratris occiiltatus, 
atque ejus veste indutus, qrns odorem optimum spirabat, seipsum insinuavit 
patri, ut sub aliena persona benedictionem primogeniture acciperet : Ita et 
nos sub Christi primogeniti fratris nostri preciosa puritate delitescere, bono 
ejus odore fragrare, ejus perfectione vitia nostra sepeliri et obtegi, atque ita 
nos piissimo Patri ingerere, ut justitite benedictionem ab eodem assequamur, 
necesse est. And afterwards. Justificat ergo nos Deus Pater bonitate sua 
gratuita, qua nos in Christo complectitur, dum eidem insertos innocentia et 
justitia Christi nos induit; quaj una ut vera et perfecta est qufe Dei sustin- 
ere conspectum potest, ita unum pro nobis sisti oportet tribunali divini ju- 
dicii et veluti causae nostree intercessorem eidem reprsesentari: qua subnixi 
etiam hie obtineremus remissionem peccatorum nostrorum assiduam: cujus 
puritate vclataj non imputantur nobis sordes nostra; ; imperfectionum im- 
munditi;r, sed veluti sepult-p conteguntur, ne in judicium Dei veniant : do- 
nee confecto in nobis, et plane extincto veteri homine, divina bonitas nos in 
beatam paccm cum novo Adam recipiat. 

* Mercaturam quandam docere nos Paulus videtur. Abundatis, inquit, 
vos pecunia et estis inopes justitia-; contra illi abundant justitia, et sunt in- 
opes pecunia;; fiat quaedam commiitatio ; date vos piis egentibus pecuniam 
quT vobis aftluit, et illis deficit; sic futurum est ut illi vicissim justitiam 
suxm qua abundant, et qua vos estis destituti, vobis communicent. Hosius; 
de expresso Dei verbo, tom. ii. pag. 21. 


This blessed permutation as to sin and righteousness, is 
represented to us in the Scripture as a principal object of our 
faith; as tliat wliereon our peace whh God is founded. And 
although both these, the imputation of sin to Christ, and the 
imputation of righteousness to us, be the acts of God and not 
ours, yet are we by faith to exemplify them in our own souls, 
and really to perform what on our part is required to their ap- 
plication to us, whereby we receive the atonement, Rom. v. 
11. Christ calls to him all those that are "weary and heavy 
laden," Matt. xi. 28. The weight that is upon the consciences 
of men, wherewith they are laden, is the burden of sin. So the 
Psalmist complains that his sins were a burden too heavy for 
him, Psalm xxxviii. 4. Such was Cain's apprehension of his 
guilt. Gen. iv. 13. This burden Christ bore when it was laid 
on him by divine estimation. For so it is said "^ao' i^w anji?i 
Isa. liii. 11. "He shall bear their sins" on him as a burden. 
And this he did when God "made to meet upon him the iniquity 
of us all," ver. 6. In the application of this to our own souls, 
as it is required that we be sensible of the weight and burden 
of our sins, and how it is heavier than we can bear, so the 
Lord Christ calls us to him with it, that we may be eased. 
This he doth in the preaching of the gospel, wherein he is 
evidently crucified before our eyes. Gal. iii. 1. In the view 
which faith hath of Christ crucified, (for faith is a looking to 
him, Isa. xlv. 22, chap. Ixv. 1, answering to their looking to the 
brazen serpent who were stung with fiery serpents, John iii. 
14, 15.) and under a sense of his invitation, (for faith is our 
coming to him upon his call and invitation) to come to him 
whh our burdens, a believer considers that God has laid all 
our iniquities upon him, yea that he has done so, is an espe- 
cial object whereon faith is to act itself, which is faith in his 
blood. Hereon doth the soul approve of, and embrace the 
righteousness and grace of God, with the infinite condescension 
and love of Christ himself. It gives its consent that what is 
thus done, is what becomes the infinite wisdom and grace of 
God, and therein it rests. Such a person seeks no more to es- 
tablish his own righteousness, but submits to the righteous- 
ness of God. Herein by faith doth he leave that burden on 
Christ, which he called him to bring with him, and complies 
with the wisdom and righteousness of God in laying it upon 
him. And herewithal doth he receive the everlasting right- 
eousness, which tiie Lord Christ brought in when he made an 
end of sin, and reconciliation for transgressors. 


The reader may be pleased to observe, that I am not debat- 
ing these things argumentatively in such propriety of expres- 
sions as is required in a scholastical disputation, which shall be 
done afterwards so far as I judge it necessary. But I am doing 
that which indeed is better and of more importance ; namely, 
declaring the experience of faith in the expressions of the 
Scripture,. or such as are analogous to them. And I had rather 
be instrumental in the communication of light and knowledge 
to the meanest believer, than to have the clearest success 
against prejudiced disputers. Wherefore by faith thus acting 
are we justified and have peace with God. Other foundation 
in this matter can no man lay that will endure the trial. 

Nor are we to be moved that men who are unacquainted 
with these things in their reality and power, do reject the 
whole work of 'faith herein, as an easy effort of fancy or imagi- 
nation. For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to the 
best of the natural wisdom of men. Neither can any under- 
stand them but by the Spirit of God. Those who know the 
terror of the Lord, who have been really convinced and made 
sensible of the guilt of their apostasy from God, and of their 
actual sins in that state, and what a fearful thing it is to fall 
into the hands of the living God, seeking thereon after a real 
solid foundation whereon they may be accepted with him, 
have other thoughts of these things, and find believing to be 
a thing quite of another nature than such men suppose. It 
is not a work of fancy or imagination to men to deny and 
abhor themselves, to subscribe to the righteousness of God in 
denouncing death as due to their sins, to renounce all hopes and 
expectations of relief from any righteousness of their own, to 
mix the word and promise of God concerning Christ and right- 
eousness by him with faith, so as to receive the atonement, and 
therewithal to give up themselves to an universal obedience to 
God. And as for them to whom through pride and self-conceit 
on the one hand, or ignorance on the other, it is so ; we have 
in this matter no concernment with them. For to whom these 
things are only the work of fancy, the gospel is a fable. 

Something to this purpose I had written long since in a prac- 
tical discourse concerning communion with God. And whereas 
some men of an inferior Ciiii-^ition, have found it useful for the 
strengthening themselves in their dependences on some of their 
superiors, or in compliance with their own inclination, to cavil 
at my writings and revile their author ; that book has been 
principally singled out to exercise their faculty and good inten- 



tions upon. This course is steered of late by one Mr. Hotch- 
kisse, in a book about justification, wherein in particular he 
fixUs very severely on that doctrine which for the substance of 
it, is here again proposed. And were it not that I hope it may 
be somewhat useful to him to be a little warned of his immor- 
alities in that discourse, I should not in the least have taken 
notice of his other impertinences. The good man, I perceive, 
can be angry with persons whom he never saw, and about 
things whicli he cannot or will not understand, so far as to re- 
vile them with most opprobrious language. For my part, 
although I have never written any thing designedly on this 
subject, or the doctrine of justification before now ; yet he 
could not but discern by what was occasionally delivered in 
that discourse, that I maintain no other doctrine herein, but 
what is the common faith of the most learned men in all Pro- 
testant churches. And the reasons why I am singled out for 
the object of his petulancy and spleen, are too manifest to need 
repetition. But I shall yet inform him of what perhaps he is 
ignorant ; namely, that I esteem it no small honour that the re- 
proaches wherewith the doctrine opposed by him is reproached, 
fall upon me. And the same I say concerning all the reviling 
and contemptuous expressions that his ensuing pages are filled 
with. But as to the present occasion I beg his excuse if I be- 
lieve him not, that the reading of the passages which he men- 
tions out of my book, filled him "with horror and indignation," 
as he pretends. For whereas he acknowledges that my words 
may have a sense which he approves of (and which therefore 
must of necessity be good and sound) what honest and sober 
person would not rather take them in that sense, than wrest 
them to another, so to cast himself under the disquietment of 
a fit of horrible indignation? In this fit I suppose it was, if 
such a fit indeed did befall him (as one evil begets another) 
that he thought he might insinuate something of my -denial of 
" the necessity of our own personal repentance and obedience." 
For no man who had read that book only of all my writings, 
could with the least regard to conscience or honesty give coun- 
tenance to such a surmise, unless his mind was much discom- 
posed by the unexpected invasion of a fit of horror. But such 
is his dealing with me from first to last, nor do I know where 
to fix on any one instance of his exceptions against me, wherein 
I can suppose he had escaped his pretended fit, and was re- 
turned to himself, that is to honest and ingenuous thoughts, 
wherewith I hope he is mostly conversant. But though I cannot 


miss in the justification of this charge by considering any in- 
stance of his reflections, yet I shall at present take that which 
he insists longest upon, and fills his discourse about it with most 
scurrility of expressions. And this is in the 164th page of his 
book and those that follow. For there he disputes fiercely 
against me for making this to be an undue end of our serAang 
God, namely, that we may flee from the wrath to come. And 
who would not take this for an inexpiable crime in any, espe- 
cially in him who has written so much of the nature and use 
of threatenings under the gospel, and the fear that ought to be 
ingenerated by them in the hearts of men, as I have done ? 
Wherefore so great a crime being the object of them, all his 
revilings seem not only to be excused but hallowed. But what 
if all this should prove a wilful prevarication, not becoming a 
good man, much less a minister of the gospel ! My words as 
reported and transcribed by himself are these : " some there are 
that do the service of the house of God as the drudgery of their 
lives; the principle they yield obedience upon is a spirit of 
bondage unto fear ; the rule they do it by is the law in its dread 
and rigour, exacting it of them to the utmost without mercy 
or mitigation ; the end they do it for is to fly from the wrath 
to come, to pacify conscience, and to seek for righteousness as 
it were by the works of the law." What follows to the same 
purpose he omits, and what he adds as my words are not so, 
but his own. Ubi pudor, ubi Jides? That which I affirmed 
to be a part of an evil end when and as it makes up one entire 
end by being mixed with sundry other things expressly men- 
tioned, is singled out, as if I had denied that in any sense it 
might be a part of a good end in our obedience, which I never 
thought, I never said, I have spoken and written much to the 
contrary. And yet to countenance himself in this chsingenu- 
ous procedure, besides many other untrue reflections, he adds 
that I insinuate, that those whom I describe, are Christians that 
seek righteousness by faith in Christ. I must needs tell this 
author that my faith in this matter is, that such works as these 
will have no influence in his justification; and that the princi- 
pal reason why I suppose I shall not in my progress in this 
discourse take any particular notice of his exceptions either 
against the truth or me, next to this consideration, that they 
are all trite and obsolete, and as to what seems to be of any 
force in them will occur to me in other authors from whom 
they are derived, is that I may not have a continual occasion 
to declare how forgetful he has been of all the rules of ingenu- 


oiisness, yea and of common honesty in his deahng with me. 
For that which gave the occasion to this present unpleasing 
digression, it being no more as to the substance of it, but that 
our siiis icere imputed unto Christ, and that his righteousness 
is imputed unto us, is that, in the faith whereof I am assured 
I shall hve and die, though he should write twenty as learned 
books against it, as those Avhich he has already published ; and 
in what sense I believe these things, shall be afterwards de- 
clared. And although I judge no men upon the expressions 
that fall from them in polemical writings, wherein on many 
occasions they affront their own experience, and contradict 
tlieir own prayers, yet as to those who understand not that 
blessed commutation of sins and righteousness as to the sub- 
stance of it, which I have pleaded for, and the actings of our 
faith with respect thereto, I shall be bold to say, that "if the 
gospel be hid, it is hid to them that perish." 

Sixthly, We can never state our thoughts aright in this mat- 
ter, unless we have a clear apprehension of, and satisfaction in 
the introduction of grace by Jesus Christ into the whole of our 
relation to God, with its respect to all parts of our obedience. 
There was no such thing, nothing of that nature or kind, in the 
first constitution of that relation and obedience by the law of 
our creation. We were made in a state of immediate relation 
to God in our own persons, as our creator, preserver and re- 
warder. There was no mystery of grace in the covenant of 
works. No more was required to the consummation of that 
state, but what was given us in our creation, enabling us to 
render rewardable obedience. "Do this and live," was the 
sole rule of our relation to God. There was nothing in reli- 
gion originally of that which the gospel celebrates under the 
name of the grace, kindness and love of God, whence all our 
favourable relation to God now proceeds, and whereinto it is 
resolved; nothing of the interposition of a mediator with re- 
spect to our righteousness before God and acceptance with him, 
which is at present the life and soul of religion, the substance 
of the gospel, and the centre of all the truths revealed in it. 
The introduction of these things is that which makes our reli- 
gion a mystery, yea, a great mystery, if the apostle may be 
believed, 1 Tim. iii. 16. All religion at first was suited and 
commensurable to reason ; but being now become a mystery, 
men for the most part are very unwilling to receive it. But 
so it must be ; and unless we are restored to our primitive rec- 
titude, a religion suited to the principles of our reason, which 


it has none but what, answer that first state, will not serve 
our turns. 

Wherefore of this introduction of Christ and grace in him 
into our relation to God, there are no notions in the natural 
conceptions of our minds, nor are they discoverable by reason 
in the best and utmost of its exercise, 1 Cor. ii. 14. For before 
our understandings were darkened, and our reason debased by 
the fall, there were no such things revealed or proposed to us ; 
yea, the supposition of them is inconsistent with, and contra- 
dictory to, that whole state and condition wherein we were to 
hve to God ; seeing they all suppose the entrance of sin. And 
it is not likely that our reason as now corrupted, should be 
willing to embrace that which it knew nothing of in its best 
condition, and which was inconsistent with that way of attain- 
ing happiness which was absolutely suited to it. For it has 
no faculty or power but what it has derived from that state. 
And to suppose it is now of itself suited and ready to embrace 
such heavenly mysteries of truth and grace, as it had no notions 
of, nor could have, in the state of innocency, is to suppose that 
by the fall our eyes were "opened to know good and evil," in 
the sense that the serpent deceived our first parents with an 
expectation of Whereas, therefore, our reason was given us 
for our only guide in the first constitution of our natures, it is 
naturally unready to receive what is above it, and, as corrupted, 
has an enmity thereto. 

Hence in the first open proposal of this mystery, namely, of 
the love and grace of God in Christ, of the introduction of a 
mediator and his righteousness into our relation to God, in that 
way which God in infinite wisdom had designed ; the whole 
of it was looked on as mere folly by the generality of the wise 
and rational men of the world, as the apostle declares at large, 
1 Cor. ch. i. Neither was the faith of them ever really received 
in the world, without an act of the Holy Ghost upon the mind 
in its renovation. And those who judge that there is nothing 
more needful to enable the mind of man to receive the myste- 
ries of the gospel in a due manner, but the outward proposal 
of the doctrine thereof, do not only deny the depravity of our 
nature by the fall, but, by just consequence, wholly renounce 
that grace whereby we are to be recovered. Wherefore rea 
son (as has been elsewhere proved) acting on and by its own 
innate principles and abilities, conveyed to it from its original 
state, and as now corrupted, is repugnant to the whole intro- 
duction of grace by Christ into our relation to God Rom. viii. 



7. An endeavour, therefore, to reduce the doctrine of the 
gospel, or what is declared therein, concerning the hidden 
mystery of the grace of God in Christ, to the principles and 
inclinations of the minds of men, or to reason as it remains in 
us after the entrance of sin, under the power at least of those 
notions and conceptions of things religious, which it retains 
from its first state and condition, is to debase and corrupt them, 
(as we shall see in sundry instances) and so make way for 
their rejection. 

Hence it is very difficult to keep up, doctrinally and practi- 
cally, the minds of men to the reality and spiritual height of 
this mystery. For men naturally neither understand it, nor 
like it. And therefore every attempt to accommodate it to the 
principles and inbred notions of corrupt reason is very accept- 
able to many, yea, to the most. For the things which such 
men speak and declare, are, without more ado, without any 
exercise of faith or prayer, without any supernatural illumina- 
tion, easily intelligible, and exposed to the common sense of 
mankind. But whereas, a declaration of the mysteries of the 
gospel can obtain no admission into the minds of men, but by 
the eiFectual working of the Spirit of God, Ephes. i. 17 — 19, 
it is generally looked on as difficult, perplexed, unintelligible ; 
and even the minds of many who find they cannot contradict 
it, are yet not at all delighted with it. And here lies the 
advantage of all those who, in these days, attempt to corrupt 
the doctrine of the gospel in the whole or any part of it ; for 
the accommodation of it to the common notions of corrupted 
reason, is the whole of what they design. And in the confi- 
dence of the suffrage hereof, they not only oppose the things 
themselves, but despise the declarations of them as enthusiasti- 
cal canting. And by nothing do they more prevail themselves, 
than by a pretence of reducing all things to reason, and a con- 
tempt of what they oppose, as unintelligible fanaticism. But 
I am not more satisfied in any thing of the most uncontrolla- 
ble evidence, than that the understanding of these men is no 
just measure or standard of spiritual truth. Wherefore, not- 
withstanding all this fierceness and scorn, with the pretended 
advantages which some think they have made by traducing 
expressions in the writings of some men, which are perhaps 
improper, perhaps only not suited to their own genius and 
ca])acity in these things, we are not to be "ashamed of the 
gospel of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation to 
every one that belie veth." 


Of this repugnancy to the mystery of the wisdom and 
grace of God in Christ, and the fouridation of its whole economy 
in the distinct operations of the persons of the Holy Trinity 
therein, there are two parts or branches. 

I. That which would reduce the whole of it to the private 
reason of men, and their own weak imperfect management 
thereof This is the entire design of the Socinians. Hence, 

1. The doctrine of the Trinity itself is denied, impugned, 
yea derided by them, and that solely on this account. They 
plead that it is incomprehensible by reason; for there is in 
that doctrine, a declaration of things absolutely infinite and 
eternal, which cannot be exemplified in, nor accommodated 
to, things finite aiid temporal. This is the substance of all 
their pleas against the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, that which 
gives a seeming life and sprightly vigour to their objections 
against it ; wherein yet under the pretence of the use and 
exercise of reason they fall,, and resolve all their reasonings 
into the most absurd and irrational principles that ever the 
minds of men were besotted with. For unless you will grant 
them that what is above their reason is therefore contradictory 
to true reason ; that what is hifinite and eternal is perfectly 
comprehensible, and in all its concerns and respects to be 
accounted for ; that what cannot be in things finite and of a 
separate existence, cannot be in things infinite whose being 
and existence can be but one, with other such irrational, yea 
brutish imaginations, all the arguments of these pretended men 
of reason agahist the Trinity, become like chaff that every 
breath of wind will blow away. Hereon they must, as they 
do, deny the distinct operations of any persons in the God- 
head in the dispensation of the mystery of grace. For if there 
are no such distinct persons, there can be no such distinct 
operations. Now as upon a denial of these things no one 
article of faith can be rightly understood, nor any one duty of 
obedience be performed to God in an acceptable manner, so 
in particular, we grant that the doctrine of justification by the 
imputation of the righteousness of Christ, cannot stand. 

2. On the same ground the incarnation of the Son of God is 
rejected as atonw a.tono-ca,tov, the most absurd conception that 
ever befel the minds of men. Now it is to no purpose to dispute 
with men so persuaded about justification. Yea we will freely 
acknowledge that all things we believe about it are no better 
than "old wives' tales," if the incarnation of the Son of God 
be so also. For I can as well understand how he who is a 


mere man, however exalted, dignified and glorified, can exer- 
cise a spiritnal rule in and over the hearts, consciences, and 
thoughts of all the men in the world, being intimately knowing 
of and present to them all equally at all times, (which is 
another of their fopperies) as how the righteousness and obe- 
dience of one should be esteemed the righteousness of all that 
believe, if that one be no more than a man, if he be not 
acknowledged to be the Son of God incarnate. 

Whilst the minds of men are prepossessed with such pre- 
judices, nay unless they firmly assent to the truth in tliese 
foundations of it, it is impossible to convince them of the truth 
and necessity of that justification of a simier which is revealed 
in the gospel. Allow the Lord Christ to be no other person 
but what they believe him to be, and I will grant there can be 
no other way of justification than what they declare; though 
I cannot believe that ever any sinner will be justified thereby. 
These are the issues of an obstinate refusal to give way to the 
introduction of the mystery^ of God and his grace, into the way 
of salvation and our relation to him. 

And he who would desire an instance of the fertility of 
men's inventions in forging and coining objections against 
heavenly mysteries in the justification of the sovereignty of 
their own reason as to what belongs to our relation to God, 
need go no further than the writings of these men against the 
Trinity and incarnation of the Eternal Word. For this is their 
fundamental rule in things divine and doctrines of religion, 
that not what the Scripture saith is therefore to be accomited 
true, although it seems repugnant to any reasonings of ours, 
or is above what we can comprehend ; but what seems repug- 
nant to our reason, let the words of the Scripture be what they 
will, that we must conclude that the Scripture does not 
say, though it seems never so expressly so to do.* " Where- 
fore because the Scripture affirms both these" (that is the 
efficacy of God's grace and the freedom of our wills) " we 
cannot conclude from thence, that they are not repugnant ; 
but because these things are repugnant to one another, 
we must determine, that one of them is not spoken in the 
Scripture ;" no, it seems, let it say what it will. This is the 
handsomest way they can take in advancing their own reason 

* Itaque non quia ntrumque scriptura dicat, propterea hsee inter se non 
pugnare concludendiim est; sed potius quia hoec inter se pugnant, ideo al- 
terutrum a scriptura non dici statuendum est. Sclilicting. ad Meisti. def. 
Socin. p. 102. 


above the Scripture, which yet savours of intolerable pre- 
suiuptiou. So Sociuus himself speaking of the satisfaction of 
Christ, says in plain terms ;* " For my part if this (doctrine) 
were extant and written in the holy Scripture, not once but 
often, yet would I not therefore believe it to be so as you think ; 
for whereas it can by no means be so" (whatever the Scripture 
saith) " I would as I do with others in other places, make use 
of some less incommodious interpretation, whereby I would 
draw a sense out of the words that should be consistent with 
itself" And how he would do this he declares a \iu\^ before ; 
he would " explain the words into another sense than what 
they sound or propose, even by unusual tropes." And indeed 
such uncouth tropes does he apply as so many engines and 
machines to pervert all the divine testimonies concerning our re- 
demption, reconciliation, and justification by the blood of Christ. 

Having therefore fixed this as their rule, constantly to prefer 
their own reason above the express words of the Scripture, 
which must therefore by one means or other be so perverted or 
wrested to be made compliant therewith, it is endless to trace 
them in their multiplied objections against the holy mysteries, all 
resolved into this one principle, that their reason cannot com- 
prehend them, and does not approve of them. And if any man 
would have an especial instance of the serpentine wits of men, 
winding themselves from under the power of conviction by the 
spiritual light of truth, or at least endeavouring so to do, let him 
read the comments of the Jewish Rabbins on Isaiah liii. and of 
the Socinians on the beginning of the gospel of John. 

Secondly, The second branch of this repugnancy springs from 
the want of a due comprehension of that harmony which is in 
the mystery of grace, and between all the parts of it. This 
comprehension is the principal effect of that wisdom which 
believers are taught by the Holy Ghost. For our understand- 
ing of the wisdom of God in a mystery is neither an art nor a 
science, whether purely speculative or more practical, but a 
spiritual wisdom. And this spiritual wisdom is such as under- 
stands and apprehends things, not so much, or not only in the 
notion of them, as in their power, reality, and efficacy towards 

* Ego quidem etiamsi non semel sed saepius id in sacris monumentis scrip- 
tnm extaret, non ideirco tamen ita prorsus rem se habere crederem, ut vos 
opinamini; cum enim id omnino fieri non possit, non secus atque in niultis 
flliis Scripturse testimoniis, una cum caeteris omnibus facio; aliqua quae 
fliinus incommoda videretur, interpretatione adhibita, eum sensum ex ejus- 
modi verbis elicerem qui sibi constaret. 


their proper ends. And therefoie although it may be that very 
few, unless they be learned, judicious, and diligent in the use 
of means of all sorts, attain to it clearly and distinctly in the 
doctrinal notions of it; yet are all true believers, yea the 
meanest of them, directed and enabled by the Holy Spirit as 
to their own practice and duty, to act suitably to a compre- 
hension of this harmony, according to the promise that " the} 
shall be all taught of God." Hence those things which appeal 
to others contradictory and inconsistent one with another, so 
that they are forced to offer violence to the Scripture and their 
own experience in the rejection of the one or other of them, 
are reconciled in their minds, and made mutually useful or 
helpful to one another, in the whole course of their obedience. 
But these things must be further spoken to. 

Such a harmony as that intended, there is in the whole 
mystery of God. For it is the most curious effect and product 
of divine wisdom ; and it is no impeachment of the truth of it, 
that it is not discernible by human reason. A full compre- 
hension of it no creature can in this world arise to. Only in 
the contemplation of faith, we may arrive to such an under- 
standing admiration of it, as shall enable us to give glory to 
God, and to make use of all the parts of it in practice as we 
have occasion. Concerning it the holy man mentioned before 
cried out, w (i(/t§t;ti'ia(rr« g^^^utHpytaj; " Unsearchable contrivance 
and operation!" and so is it expressed by the apostle, as that 
which has an unfathomable depth of wisdom in it, w jSaSoj 
Tixovtov, &c. "0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom 
and knowledge of God ; how unsearchable are his ways and 
his judgments past finding out," Rom. xi. 33 — 36. See to the 
same purpose, Eph. iii. 8 — 10. 

Tliere is a harmony, a suitableness of one thing to another 
in all the works of creation. Yet we see that it is not perfectly 
nor absolutely discoverable to the wisest and most diligent of 
men. How far are they from an agreement about the order 
and motions of the heavenly bodies, of the sympathies and 
qualities of sundry things here below, in the relation of causality 
and efficiency between one thing and another. The new 
discoveries made concerning any of them, only evidence how 
far men are from a just and perfect comprehension of them. 
Yet such a universal harmony there is in all the parts of nature 
and its operations, that nothing in its proper station and opera- 
tion is destructively contradictory either to the whole, or any 
part of it, but every thing contributes to the preservation 


aud use of the universe. But although this harmony he not 
absolutely comprehensible by any, yet do all living creatures, 
who follow the conduct or instinct of nature, make use of it, 
and live upon it, and without it neither their being could be 
preserved, nor their operations continued. 

But in the mystery of God and his grace, the harmony and 
suitableness of one thing to another, with their tendency to 
the same end, is incomparably more excellent and glorious 
than that which is seen in nature or the works of it. For 
whereas God made all things at first in wisdom, yet is the 
new creation of aU things by Jesus Christ, ascribed peculiarly 
to the riches, stores, and treasures of that infinite wisdom. 
Neither can any discern it unless they are taught of God, for 
it is only spiritually discerned. But yet is it by the most 
despised. Some seem to think that there is no great wisdom 
in it, and some that no great wisdom is required to the com- 
prehension of it. Few think it worth the while to spend half 
that time in prayer, in meditation, in the exercise of self denial, 
mortification and holy obedience, doing the will of Christ that 
they may know of his word to the attaining of a due compre- 
hension of the mystery of godliness, that some do in diligent 
study, and trial of experiments, who design to excel in natural 
or mathematical sciences. Wherefore there are three things 
evident herein. 

1. That such a harmony there is in all the parts of the 
mystery of God, wherein all the blessed properties of the 
divine nature are glorified, our duty in all instances is directed 
and engaged, our salvation in the way of obedience secured, 
and Christ as the end of all exalted. Wherefore we are not 
only to consider and know the several parts of the doctrine of 
spiritual truth, but their relation also one to another, their 
consistency one with another in practice, and their mutual 
furtherance of one another to their common end. And a 
disorder in our apprehensions about any part of that, whose 
beauty and use arises from its harmony, gives some confusion 
of mind with respect to the whole. 

2. That to a comprehension of this harmony in a due 
measure, it is necessary that we be " taught of God," without 
which we can never be wise in the knowledge of the mystery 
of his grace. And herein ought we to place the principal 
part of our diligence in our inquiries into the truths of the 

3. All those who are taught of God to know his will, unless 


it be when their minds are disordered by prejudices, false 
opinions or temptations, have an experience in tliemselves and 
their own practiced obedience, of the consistency of all parts of 
the mystery ot" God's grace and trutli in Christ among them- 
selves, of their spiritual harmony and cogent tendency to the 
same end. The introduction of the grace of Christ into our 
relation to God, makes no confusion or disorder in their minds, 
by the contlict of the principles of natural reason, with respect 
to our first relation to God, and those of grace with respect to 
that whereto we are renewed. 

From the want of a due comprehension of this divine har- 
mony it is, that the minds of men are filled with imaginations 
of an inconsistency between the most important parts of the 
mystery of the gospel, from whence the confusions that are at 
this day in Christian religion proceed. 

Thus the Socinians can see no consistency between the 
grace or love of God, and the satisfaction of Christ, but 
imagine if the one of them be admitted, the other must be 
excluded out of our religion. Wherefore they principally 
oppose the latter under a pretence of asserting and vindicating 
the former. And where these things are expressly conjoined 
in the same proposition of faith ; as where it is said that we 
are* "justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemp- 
tion that is in Christ Jesus ; whom God hath set forth to be a 
propitiation tnrough faith in his blood," as Rom. iii. 24, 25, 
they will offer violence to common sense and reason, rather 
that not disturb that harmony which they cannot understand. 
For although it be plainly atlirmed to be a redemption by his 
blood, as he is a propitiation, as his blood was a ransom or 
price of redemption, yet they will contend, that it is only 
metaphorical, a mere deliverance by power, like that of the 
Israelites by Moses. But these things are clearly stated in 
the gospel, and therefore not only consistent, but such as that 
the one cannot subsist without the other. Nor is there any 
mention of any especial love or grace of God to sinners, but 
with respect to the satisfaction of Christ as the means of the 
communication of all their effects to them. See John iii. 16 ; 
Rom. iii. 23—25, viii. 30—33 ; 2 Cor. v. 19—21 ; Eph. i. 7, &c. 

In hke manner, they can see no consistency between the 
satisfaction of Christ, and the necessity of holiness or obe- 
dience in thein that believe. Hence they continually clamour, 
that by our doctrine of the mediation of Christ, we overthrow 
all obligations to a holy life. And by their sophistical reason- 


iiigs to this purpose, they prevail witli many to embrace their 
dehisions, who have not a spiritual experience to confront 
their sophistry with. But as the testimony of the Scripture 
Ues expressly against them, so those who truly believe, and 
have real experience of the influence of that truth upon the 
Hfe of God, and how impossible it is to yield any acceptable 
obedience herein without respect thereto, are secured from 
their snares. 

These and the like imaginations arise from the unAvilling- 
ness of men to admit of the introduction of the mystery of 
grace, into our relation to God. For suppose us to stand before 
God on the old constitution of the covenant of cri^atioii, Avhich 
alone natural reason likes and comprehends, and we acknow- 
ledge these things to be inconsistent. But the mystery of the 
wisdom and grace of God in Christ, cannot stand without them 

So likewise God's efficacious grace in the conversion of 
sinners, and the exercise of the faculties of their minds in a 
way of duty are asserted as contradictory and inconsistent. 
And although they seem both to be positively and frecpiently 
declared hi the Scripture, yet say these men, their consistency- 
being repugnant to their reason, let the Scripture say what it 
will, yet it is to be said by us, that the Scripture does not assert 
one of them. And this is from the same cause ; men cannot 
in their wisdom see it possible that the mystery of God's grace 
should be introduced into our relation and obedience to God. 
Hence have many ages of the church, especially the last of 
them, been filled with endless disputes, in opposition to the 
grace of God, or to accommodate the conceptions of it, to the 
interests of corrupted reason. 

But there is no instance more pregnant to this purpose than 
that under our present consideration. Free justification through 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, is cried out 
against as inconsistent with a necessity of personal holiness 
and obedience ; and because the Socinians insist principally 
on this pretence, it shall be fully and diligently considered 
apart, and that holiness, wliich without it, they and others 
deriving from them, pretend to, shall be tried by the unerring 

Wherefore I desire it may be obseiwed that in pleading for 
this doctrine, we do it as a principal part of the introduction 
of grace into our whole relation to God. Hence we grant: 
i. That it is unsuited, yea foolish, and as some speak cliild- 



ish, to the principles of unenlightened and imsanctified reason, 
or understandings of men. And this we conceive to be the 
principal cause of all the oppositions that are made to it, and 
all the depravations of it that the church is pestered with. 
Hence are the wits of men so fertile in sophistical cavils against 
it, so ready to load it with seeming absurdities, and I know 
not what linsuitableness to their wondrous rational conceptions. 
And no objection can be made against it, be it ever so trivial, 
but is highly applauded by those, who look on that introduc- 
tion of the mystery of grace which is above their natural con- 
ceptions, as unintelligible folly. 

2. That the necessary relation of these things one to the 
other, namely, of justification by the imputation of the right- 
eousness of Christ, and the necessity of our personal obedience, 
will not be clearly understood nor duly improved, but by and 
in the exercise of the wisdom of faith. This we grant also ; 
and let who will make what advantage they can of this con- 
cession. True faith has such spiritual light in it, or accom- 
panying it, that it is able to receive it, and to conduct the soul 
to obedience by it. Wherefore, reserving the particular con- 
sideration hereof, to its proper place, I say in general, 

1. That this relation is evident to that spiritual wisdom 
whereby we are enabled doctrinally and practically to compre- 
hend the harmony of the mystery of God, and the consistency 
of all the parts of it one with another. 

2. That it is made evident by the Scripture, wherein both 
these things, justification through the imputation of the right- 
eousness of Christ, and the necessity of our personal obedience, 
are plainly asserted and declared. And we defy that rule of 
the Socinians, that seeing these things are inconsistent in*their 
apprehension or to their reason, therefore we must say that 
one of them is not taught in the Scripture ; for whatever it 
may appear to their reason, it does not so to ours; and we 
have at least as good reason to trust to our own reason, as to 
theirs. Yet, we absolutely acquiesce in neither, but in the 
authority of God in the Scripture ; rejoicing only in this, that 
we can set our seal to his revelations by our own experience. 

3. It is fully evident in the gracious conduct which the 
minds of them that believe are under, even that of the " Spirit 
of truth and grace," and the inclinations of that new principle 
of the divine life whereby they are actuated. For although 
from the remainders of sin and darkness that are in tiiem, 


temptations may arise to a coiitiunance in sin, because grace 
lias abounded, yet are their minds so formed and framed by 
the doctrine of this grace, and the grace of tliis doctrhie, that 
the abounding of grace herein, is the principal motive to their 
abounding in hohness, as we shall see afterwards. 

And this we aver to be the spring of all those objections 
which the adversaries of this doctrine conthiually endeavour 
to entangle it with. As (1) If the passive righteousness (as it 
is commonly called,) that is, his death and suffering be imputed 
to us, there is no need nor can be, that his active righteous- 
ness or the obedience of his life, should be imputed to us; and 
so on the contrary; for both together are inconsistent. (2) That 
if all sin be pardoned, there is no need of the righteousness ; 
and so on the contrary, if the righteousness of Christ be imputed 
to us, there is no room for or need of the pardon of sin. (3) If 
we believe the pardon of our sins, then are our sins pardoned 
before we believe, or we are bound to believe that which is 
not so. (4) If the righteousness of Christ be imputed to us, 
then are we esteemed to have done and suffered, what indeed 
we never did nor suffered ; and it is true, that if we are 
esteemed ourselves to have done it, imputation is overthrown. 
(5) If Christ's righteousness be imputed to us, then are we as 
righteous as was Christ himself. (6) If our sins were imputed 
to Christ, then was he thought to have sinned, and was a 
sinner subjectively. (7) If good works be excluded from any 
interest in our justification before God, then are they of no 
use to our salvation. (8) That it is ridiculous to think, that 
where there is no sin, there is not all the righteousness that 
can be required. (9) That righteousness imputed is onl}^ a 
putative or imaginary righteousness, &c. 

Now, although all these and the like objections however 
subtilly managed, (as Socinus boasts that he had used more 
than ordinary subtilty in this cause,)* are capable of plain and 
clear solutions, and we shall avoid the examination of none of 
them ; yet at present I shall only say, that all the shades which 
they cast on the minds of men, vanish and disappear before 
the light of express Scripture testimonies, and the experience 
of them that believe, where there is a due comprehension of 
the mystery of grace in any tolerable measure. 

Seventhly — There are some common prejudices that are 

* In quo si snbtilius aliqnanto quam opus esse vidcretur, queedam a nobis 
disputala suat ; De Servat. par. 4. cap. 4. 

64 t'he doctrine of justificatiox. 

usually ])leaded against the doctrine of the imputation of the 
riafhteoujiaess of Christ, which because they will not orderly 
fall under a particular consideration in our progress, may be 
brielly examined in these general previous considerations, 

1. It is usually urged against it, that this imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ is no where mentioned expressly in the 
Scripture. This is the first objection of Bellarmine against it.* 
" As yet they have not been able to find a single passage which 
asserted that the righteousness of Christ was imputed to us for 
righteousness ; or that we were righteous through the right- 
eousness of Christ imputed to us." An objection, doubtless, 
unreasonably and immodestly urged by men of his persuasion. 
For, not only do they make profession of their whole faith, or 
their belief of all things in matters of religion, in terms and 
expressions no where used in the Scripture, but believe many 
things also, as they say, with faith divine, not at all revealed 
or contained in the Scripture, but drained by them out of the 
traditions of the church. I do not therefore understand how 
such persons can modestly manage this as an objection against 
au]'' doctrine, that the terms wherein some do express it, are 
not in so many words found in the Scripture, just in that order 
of one word after another as by them they are used. For this, 
rule may be much enlarged, and yet be kept strait enough 
to exclude the principal concerns of their church out of the 
confines of Christianity. Nor can I apprehend much more 
equity in others who reflect with severity on this expression of 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, as unscriptural, 
as if those who make use thereof, were criminal in no small 
degree ; when themselves immediately in the declaration of 
their own judgment, make use of such terms, distinctions and 
expressions, as are so far from being in the Scripture, that it is 
odds they had never been in the world, had they escaped 
Aristotle's mint, or that of the schools deriving from him. 

And thus although a sufficient answer has frequently enough, 
if any thing can be so, been returned to this objection in Bel- 
larmine, yet has one of late amongst ourselves made the trans- 
lation of it into English, to be the substance of the first chap- 
ter of a book about justification ; though he needed not to have 
given such an early intimation to whom he is beholden for the 

* liactenus, nuiinm omnino locum invenire potnerunt ubi lej^erettir Christi 
justitiam nobis impulari ad justitiam ; vel nos justos esse per Chrisli justi- 
tiain nobis imputaiain. De Justificat. lib. 2. cap. 7. 


iircatest part of his ensuing discourse, unless it be what is taken 
up in despiteful reviUng of other men. For take from him 
what is not his own on the one hand, and impertinent cavils at 
the words and expressions of other men, with forged imputa- 
tions on some of them, on the other, and his whole book will 
disappear. But yet, although he atlirms that none of the Pro- 
testant writers who speak of the imputation of the righteous- 
ness of Christ to us, (which were all of them without exception 
until of late) have "precisely kept to the form of wholesome 
words, but have rather swerved and varied from the language 
of the Scripture," yet he will excuse them from open error, 
if they intend no more thereby, but that we are made par- 
takers' of the benefits of the righteousness of Christ. But if they 
intend that the righteousness of Christ itself is imputed to us, 
(that is, so as to be our righteousness before God, whereon we 
are pardoned and accepted with him, or receive the forgiveness 
of sins, and a right to the heavenly inheritance) then are they 
guilty of that error which makes us to be esteemed to do our- 
selves what Christ did ; and so on the other side, Christ to have 
done what we do and did. But these things are not so. For 
if we are esteemed to have done any thing in our own persons, 
it cannot be imputed to us as done for us by another ; as it 
will appear when we shall treat of these things afterwards. 
But the great and holy persons intended, are as little concerned 
in the accusations or apologies of some writers, as those writers 
seem to be acquainted with that learning, wisdom and judg- 
ment, wherein they excelled, and the characters whereof are 
so eminently conspicuous in all their writings. 

But the judgment of most Protestants is not only candidly 
expressed, but approved of also by Bellarmine himself in an- 
other place.* "It were not absurd if any one should say that 
the righteousness and merits of Christ are imputed to us, when 
they are given and applied to us, as if we ourselves had satis- 
fied God." And this he confirms with that saying of Ber- 
nard,! " For if one died for all, then were all dead ; that is to 
say, that the satisfaction of one is imputed to all, as he alone 
bore the sins of all." And those who will acknowledge no 

* Non esset absurdum si quis diceret nobis imputari Christi justitiam et 
merita; cum nobis Jonentur et applicentur; ac si uos ipsi Deo satisfecisse- 
inus. De Justif. lib. 2. cap. 10. 

f Nam si unus pro omnibus mortuus est, ergo omnes mortui sunt, ut vide- 
licet satisfactio unius omnibus imputetur, sicut omnium peccata unus ille 
portavit. Bernard ad Innocent. Epist. 190. 



more in this matter, but only a participation qvovis moch, one 
way or other, of the benefits of the obedience and righteous- 
ness of Christ, wherein we have the concurrence of the Soci- 
nians also, might do well as I suppose, plainly to deny all 
imputation of his righteousness to us in any sense, as they do, 
seeing the benefits of his righteousness cannot be said to be 
imputed to us, what way soever we are made partakers of 
them. For to say, that the righteousness of Christ is imputed 
to us with respect to the benefits of it, when neither the right- 
eousness itself is imputed to us, nor can the benefits of it be 
imputed to us, as we shall see afterwards, ministers great 
occasion of mucli needless variance and contests. Neither do 
I know any reason why men should seek countenance to this 
doctrine under such an expression as themselves reflect upon 
as unscriptural, if they be contented that their minds and sense 
should be clearly understood and apprehended. For truth 
needs no subterfuge. 

The Socinians now principally make use of this objection. 
For finding the whole Church of God in the use of sundry ex- 
pressions, in the declaration of the most important truths of 
the gospel, that are not literally contained in the Scripture, 
they hoped for an advantage from thence in their opposition 
to the things themselves. Such are the terms of the Trinity, 
the incarnation, satisfaction and merit of Christ, as this also 
of the imputation of his righteousness. How little they have 
prevailed in the other instances has been sufficiently manifested 
by them with whom they have had to do. But as to that part 
of this objection which concerns the imputation of the right- 
eousness of Christ to believers, those by whom it is asserted say : 

1. That it is the thing alone intended which they plead for. 
If that be not contained in the Scripture, if it be not plainly 
taught and confirmed therein, they will speedily relinquish it. 
But if they can prove that the doctrine which they intend in 
this expression, and which is thereby plainly declared to the" 
understandings of men, is a divine truth, sufficiently witnessed 
to in the Scripture, then is this expression of it reductively 
Scriptural, and the truth itself so expressed a divine verity. 
To deny this, is to take away all use of the interpretation of 
the Scripture ; and to overthrow the ministry of the church. 
This therefore is to be alone inquired into. 

2. They say, the same thing is taught and expressed in the 
Scripture, in phrases equivalent. For it affirms that "by the 
obedience of One," (that is Christ) "shall many be made right- 


eons," Rom. v. 19. And that we are made righteous by the 
imputation of righteousness to us, " Blessed is the man unto 
wliom God imputeth righteousness without works," chap. iv. 
6. And if we are made righteous by the imputation of right- 
eousness to us, that obedience or righteousness, whereby we 
are made righteous, is imputed to us. And they Avill be con- 
tent with this expression of this doctrine, That the obedience 
of Christ, whereby we are made righteous, is the righteousness 
that God imputes to us. Wherefore this objection is of no force 
to disadvantage the truth pleaded for. 

3, Socinus objects in particular against this doctrine of jus- 
tification bv the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, and 
of his satisfaction, that there is nothing said of it in the Evan- 
gelists, nor in the report of the sermons of Christ to the people, 
no, nor yet in those of his private discourses with his disciples. 
And he urges it vehemently and at large, against the whole of 
the expiation of sin by his death. And as it is easy, niaUs 
mventts pejora addere, this notion of his is not only made use 
of and pressed at large by one among ourselves, but improved 
also by a dangerous comparison between the writings of the 
Evangelists and the other writings of the New Testament. 
For to enforce this argument, that the histories of the gospel 
wherein the sermons of Christ are recorded, make no mention 
of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, as in his judg- 
ment they do not, nor of his satisfaction, or merit or expiation 
of sin, or of redemption by his death, as they do nbt in the 
judgment of Socinus, it is added by him, that for his part he 
is " apt to admire our Saviour's sermons, who was the author 
of our religion, before the writings of the Apostles, though in- 
spired men." To which many dangerous insinuations and re- 
flections on the writings of St. Paul, contrary to the faith and 
sense of the church in all ages, are subjoined. 

But this boldness is not only unwarrantable, but to be ab- 
horred. What place of Scripture, what ecclesiastical tradition, 
what single precedent of any one sober Christian writer, what 
theological reason, will countenance a man making the com- 
parison mentioned, and so determining thereon ? Such juve- 
nile boldness, such want of a due apprehension and under- 
standing of the nature of Divine inspirations, with the order 
and design of the writings of the New Testament, which are 
the springs of this precipitate censure, ought to be reflected on. 
At present, to remove this pretence out of our way, it may be 


1 . That what the Lord Christ taught his disciples in his per- 
sonal mhiistry on the earth, was suited to that economy of the 
church, wiiich was antecedent to his death and resurrection. 
Nothing did he withhold from them, that was needful to their 
faith, obedience and consolation in that state. Many things 
lie instructed them in, out of the Scripture, many new revela- 
tions he made to them, and many times did he occasionally 
instruct and rectify their judgments. Howbeit he made no 
clear distinct revelation of those sacred mysteries to them, 
which are peculiar to the faith of the New Testament, nor 
were to be distinctly apprehended before his death and resur- 

2. What the Lord Christ revealed afterwards by his Spirit 
to the Apostles, was no less immediately from himself, than 
was the truth Avhich he spoke to them with his own mouth 
in the days of his flesh. An apprehension to the contrary is 
destructive of Christianity. The epistles of the Apostles are 
no less Christ's sermons, than that which he delivered on the 
mount. Wherefore, 

3. Neither in the things themselves, nor in the way of their 
delivery or revelation, is there any advantage of the one sort 
of writings above the other. The things written in the epistles 
proceed from the same wisdom, the same grace, the same love, 
with the things which he spoke with his own mouth in the 
days of his flesh, and are of the same Divine veracity, author- 
ity and efficacy. The revelation which he made by his Spirit, 
is no less divine and immediate from himself, than what he 
spoke to his disciples on the earth. To distinguish between 
these things on any of these accounts, is intolerably folly. 

4. The writings of the Evangelists do not contain the whole 
of all the instructions which the Lord Christ gave to his disci- 
ples personally on earth. For he was " seen of them after his 
resurrection forty days, and spoke with them of the things per- 
taining to the kingdom of God," Acts i. 3. And yet nothing 
hereof is recorded in their writings, but only some few occa- 
sional speeches. Nor had he given them before a clear and 
distinct understanding of those things which were delivered 
concerning his death and resurrection in the Old Testament, as 
is plainly declared, Luke xxiv. 25 — 27. For it was not neces- 
sary for them in that state wherein they were. Wherefore, 

5. As to the extent of Divine revelations objectively, those 
which he granted by his Spirit to his Apostles after his ascen- 
sion, were beyond those which he personally taught them, so 


far as they are recorded in the writings of the EvangeUsts. 
For he told them plainly, not long before his death, that he 
had many things to say to them, which then they could not 
bear, John xvi. 12. And for the knowledge of those things, 
he refers them to the coming of the Spirit to make revelation 
of them from himself, in the next words: "Howbeit when He, 
the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth ; 
for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, 
that shall he speak, and he will show you things to come. He 
shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and show it unto 
you," ver. 13, 14. And on this account he had told them be- 
fore, that it was expedient for them that he should go away. 
that the Holy Spirit might come unto them, whom he would 
send from the Father, ver. 7. Hereunto he referred the full 
and clear manifestation of the mysteries of the gospel. So 
false, as well as dangerous and scandalous, are those insinua- 
tions of Socinus and his followers. 

Secondly, The writings of the Evangelists are full to their 
proper ends and purposes. These were to record the gene- 
alogy, conception, birth, acts, miracles and teachings of our 
Saviour, so far as to evince him to be the true only promised 
Messiah. So he testifies who wrote the last of them. " Many 
other signs truly did Jesus, which are not written in this book; 
but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the 
Christ, the Son of God," John xx. 30, 31. To this end every 
thing is recorded by them that is needful to the ingenerating 
and establishment of faith. Upon this confirmation, all things 
declared in the Old Testament concerning him, all that was 
taught in types and sacrifices, became the object of faith in 
that sense wherein they were interpreted in the accomplish- 
ment : and that in them this doctrine was before revealed, sfiall 
be proved afterwards. It is therefore no wonder if some things, 
and those of the highest importance, should be declared more 
fully in other writings of the New Testament, than they are 
in those of the Evangelists. 

Thirdly, The pretence itself is wholly false. For there are 
as many pregnant testimonies given to this truth in one alone 
of the Evangelists, as in any other book of the New Testament ; 
namely, in the book of John. I shall refer to some of them 
which will be pleaded in their proper place, John i. 12, 17, 19, 
iii. 14—18, 36, V. 24. 

But we may pass this by, as one of those inventions con- 
cerning which Socinus boasts in his epistle to Michael Vajo- 


ditus, that his writings were "esteemed by many for the sin- 
gnlarity of the things asserted in them." 

Fourthly, The ditference that has been among Protestant 
writers about this doctrine is pleaded to the prejudice of it. 
Osiander in the entrance of the Reformation fell into a vain 
imagination, that we were justified or made righteous with 
the essential righteousness of God, communicated to us by 
Jesus Christ. And whereas he was opposed herein with some 
severity by the most learned persons of those days, to coun- 
tenance himself in his singularity he pretended that there 
were twenty different opinions among the Protestants them- 
selves, about the formal cause of our justification before God. 
This was quickly laid hold of by them of the Roman church, 
and is urged as a prejudice against the whole doctrine, by 
Bellarmine, Vasquez, and others. But the vanity of this pre- 
tence of his has been sufficiently discovered ; and Bellarmine 
himself could fancy but four opinions among thcni, that seemed 
to be different from one another, reckoning that of Osiander 
for one. But whereas he knew that the imagination of 
Osiander was exploded by them all, the other three that he 
mentions are indeed but distinct parts of the same entire 
doctrine. Wherefore until of late it might be truly said, that 
the faith and doctrine of all Protestants was in this article 
entirely the same. For however they differed in the way, 
manner, and methods of its declaration, and too many private 
men were addicted to definitions and descriptions of their own, 
under pretence of logical accuracy in teaching, which gave an 
appearance of some contradiction among them, yet in this they 
generally agreed, that it is the righteousness of Christ and not 
our own, on the account whereof we receive the pardon of shi, 
acceptance with God, are declared righteous by the gospel, 
and have a right and title to the heavenly inheritance. Hereon, 
I say, they were generally agreed, first against the Papists, 
and afterwards against the Socinians; and where this is granted, 
I will not contend with any man about his way of declaring 
the doctrine of it. 

And that I may add it by the way, we have herein the 
concurrence of the fathers of the primitive church. For 
although by justification, following the etymology of the Latin 
word, they understood the making us righteous with internal 
personal righteousness, at least some of them did so, as Austin 
in particular, yet that we are pardoned and accepted with 
God on any other account, but that of the righteousness of 


Christ, they beUeved not. And whereas, especially in tlieir 
controversy with the Pelagians after the rising of that heresy, 
they plead vehemently that we are made righteous by the 
grace of God, changing our hearts and natures, and creating 
in ns a principle of spirhual life and holiness, and not by the 
endeavours of our own free will, or works performed in the 
strength thereof, their words and expressions have been abused 
contrary to their intention and design. 

For we wholly concur with them, and subscribe to all that 
they dispute about the making of us personally righteous and 
holy, by the effectual grace of God, against all merit of works 
and operations of our own free will, (our sanctification being 
every way as much of grace, as our justification properly so 
called) and that in opposition to the common doctrine of the 
Roman church about the same matter ; only they call our 
being made inherently and personally righteous by grace, 
sometimes by the name of juslificutimi which we do not. 
And this is laid hold of as an advantage by those of the 
Roman church who do not concur with them in the way and 
manner whereby we are so made righteous. But whereas by 
our justification before God, we intend only that righteousness 
whereon our sins are pardoned, wherewith we are made 
righteous in his sight, or for which we are accepted as righteous 
before him, it will be hard to find any of them assigning it to 
any other causes than the Protestants do. So it is fallen out, 
that what they design to prove, we entirely comply with them 
in; but the way and manner whereby they prove it, is made 
use of by the Papists to another end, which they intended not. 

But as to the way and manner of the declaration of this 
doctrine among Protestants themselves, there ever was some 
variety and difference in expressions. Nor will it be other- 
wise whilst the abilities and capacities of men, whether in the 
conceiving of things of this nature, or in the expression of 
their conceptions, are so various as they are. And it is ac- 
knowledged that these differences of late have had by some 
as much weight laid upon them, as the substance of the doctrine 
generally agreed in. Hence some have composed entire books 
consisting almost of nothing, but impertinent cavils at other 
men's words and expressions. But these things proceed from 
the weakness of some men, and other vicious habits of their 
minds, and do not belong to the cause itself. And such per- 
sons, as for me, may write as they do, and fight on until they 
are weary. Neither has the multiplication of questions, and 


the curious discussions of them in the handhng of this doc- 
trine, wherein nothing ought to be diligently insisted on, but 
what is directive of our practice, been of much use to the truth 
itself, thougli it has not been directly opposed in them. 

• That which is of real difference among persons who agree 
in the substance of the doctrine may be reduced to a very few 
heads. As (1) There is something of this kind about the nature 
of faith whereby we are justified, with its proper object in 
justifying, and its vise in justification. And an instance we 
have herein, not only of the weakness of our intellects in the 
apprehension of spiritual things, but also of the remainders of 
confusion and disorder in our minds, at least how true it is that 
we "know only in part," and '-prophesy only in part," whilst 
we are in this life. For whereas this faith is an act of our 
minds, put forth in the way of duty to God, yet many by whom 
it is sincerely exercised, and that continually, are not agreed 
either in the nature or proper object of it. Yet is there no 
doubt but that some of them who differ amongst themselves 
about these things, have delivered their minds free from the 
prepossession of prejudices and notions derived from other 
artificial reasonings imposed on them, and do really express 
their own conceptions as to the best and utmost of their expe- 
rience. And notwithstanding this difference, they do yet all 
of them please God in the exercise of faith as it is their duty, 
and have such respect to its proper object, as secures both 
their justification and salvation. And if we cannot on this 
consideration bear with, and forbear one another in our differ- 
ent conceptions, and expressions of those conceptions about 
these things, it is a sign we have a great mind to be conten- 
tious, and that our confidences are built on very weak founda- 
tions. For my part I had much rather my lot should be found 
among them who do really " believe with the heart unto right- 
eousness," though they are not able to give a tolerable defi- 
nition of faith to others, than among them who can endlessly 
dispute about it with seeming accuracy and skill, but are 
negligent in the exercise of it as their own duty. Wherefore 
some things shall be briefly spoken of in this matter, to declare 
my own apprehensions of the things mentioned without the 
least design to contradict or oppose the conceptions of others. 
2. Tliere has been a controversy rnore directly stated among 
some learned divines of the reformed churches, (for the Luthe- 
rans are unanimous on the one side) about the righteousness 
Oi Christ that is said to be imputed to us. For some would 


have this to be only his suffering of death, and the satisfaction 
which he made for sin thereby, and others inchide therein the 
obedience of his life also. The occasion, original, and progress 
of this controversy, the persons by whom it has been managed, 
with the writings wherein it is so, and the various ways that 
have been endeavoured for its rcconciUation, are sutticieutly 
known to all, who have inquired into these things. Neither 
shall I engage herein, in the way of controversy or in opposi- 
tion to others, though I shall freely declare my own judgment 
in it, so far as the consideration of the righteousness of Clu'ist 
under this distinction is inseparable from the substance of the 
truth itself which I plead for. 

3. Some difference there has been also, whether the right- 
eousness of Christ imputed to us, or the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ, may be said to be the formal cause of 
our justification before God, wherein there appears some 
variety of expression among learned men, who have handled 
this subject in the way of controversy with the Papists. The 
true occasion of the differences about this expression has been 
this and no other. Those of the Roman church constantly 
assert, that the righteousness whereby we are righteous before 
God, is the formal cause of our justification. And this right- 
eousness, they say, is our own inherent personal righteousness, 
and not the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. Wherefore 
they treat of this whole controversy, namely, what is the right- 
eousness on the account whereof we are accepted with God, 
or justified, under the name of the formal cause of justification, 
which is the subject of the second book of Bellarmine concern- 
iag justification. In opposition to them, some Protestants 
contending that the righteousness wherewith we are esteemed 
rigliteous before God, and accepted with him, is the right- 
eousness of Christ, imputed to us, and not our own inherent, 
imperfect personal righteousness, have done it under this 
inquiry, namely, what is the formal cause of our justifica- 
tion ? which some have said to be the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ, some the righteousness of Christ im- 
puted. But what they designed herein was not to resolve 
this controversy into a philosophical inquiry about the na- 
ture of a formal cause, but only to prove that that truly 
belonged to the righteousness of Christ in our justification, 
which the Papists ascribed to our own, under that name. 
That there is an habitual infused habit of grace which is 
the formal cause of our personal inherent righteousness thej 



grant. But they all deny that God pardons our sins, and jus. 
tifies our persons with respect to this righteousness as the 
formal cause thereof. Nay they deny that in the justification 
of a sinner there either is, or can be any inherent formal cause 
of it. And what they mean by a formal cause in our justifica- 
tion, is only that which gives the denomination to the subject, 
as the imputation of the righteousness of Christ does to a person 
that he is justified. 

Wherefore notwithstanding the differences nat have been 
among some in the various expression of their conceptions, the 
substance of the doctrine of the reformed churches is by them 
agreed upon and retained entire. For they all agree that G6d 
justifies no sinner, absolves him not from guilt, nor declares 
him righteous, so as to have a title to the heavenly inheritance, 
but with respect to a true and perfect righteousness; as also 
that this righteousness is truly the righteousness of him that is 
so justified. That this righteousness becomes ours by God's 
free grace and donation, the way on our part whereby we 
come to be really and effectually interested therein, being faith 
alone : and that this is the perfect obedience or righteousness 
of Christ imputed to us; — these things, as they shall be after- 
wards distinctly explained, contain the whole of tliat truth, 
whose explanation and confirmation is the design of the ensu- 
ing discourse. And because those by whom this doctrine in 
the substance of it, is of late impugned, derive mote from the 
Socinians than the Papists, and make a nearer approach to 
their principles, I shall chiefly insist on the examination of 
those original authors, by whom their notions were first coined, 
and whose weapons they make us of in their defence. 

Eighthly, To close these previous discourses, it is worthy 
our consideration what weight was laid on this doctrine of jus- 
tification at the first Reformation, and what influence it had 
upon the whole work thereof However the minds of men may 
be changed as to sundry doctrines of faith among us, yet none 
can justly own the name of Protestant, but he must highly 
value the first Reformation. And they cannot well do otlier- 
wise, whose present even temporal advantages are resolved 
thereinto. However I intend none but such as own an espe- 
cial presence and guidance of God with those who were 
eminently and successfully employed therein. Such persons 
cannot but grant that their faith in this matter, and the con- 
currence of their thoughts about its importance, are worthy 


Now it is known, that the doctrine of justification gave the 
first occasion to the whole work of Reformation, and was the 
main hinge whereon it turned. This those mentioned declared 
to be articulus stantis aut cadentis ecclesics, " an article by 
which the church stands or falls;" and that the vindication 
thereof alone, deserved all the pains that was taken in the 
whole endeavour of reformation. But things are now, and 
that by virtue of their doctrine herein, much changed in the 
world, though it be not so understood ur acknowledged. In 
general no small benefit redounded to the world by the Refor- 
mation, even among them by whom it was not, nor is received, 
though many bluster with contrary pretensions. For all the 
evils which have accidentally ensued thereon, arising most of 
them from the corrupt passions and interests of them by whom 
it has been opposed, are usually ascribed to it ; and all the light, 
liberty, and benefit of the minds of men which it has intro- 
duced, are ascribed to other causes. But this may be signally 
observed with respect to the doctrine of justification, with the 
causes and effects of its discovery and vindication. For the 
first reformers found their own, and the consciences of other 
men, so immersed in darkness, so pressed and harassed with 
fears, terrors, and disquietments under the power of it, and so 
destitute of any steady guidance into the ways of peace with 
God, as that with all diligence (like persons sensible that herein 
their spiritual and eternal interest was concerned) they made 
their inquiries after the truth in this matter, which they knew 
must be the only means of their deliverance. All men in those 
days were either kept in bondage under endless fears and 
anxieties of mind upon the convictions of sin, or sent for relief 
to indulgences, priestly pardons, penances, pilgrimages, satis- 
factory works of their own, and supererogatory of others, or 
kept under chains of darkness for purgatory unto the last day. 
Now he is no way able to compare things past and present, 
who sees not how great an alteration is made in these things 
even in the Papal church. For before the Reformation, where- 
by the light of the gospel, especially in this doctrine of justifi- 
cation, was diffused among men, and shone even into their 
minds who never comprehended nor received it, the whole 
almost of religion among them was taken up with and confined 
to these things. And to instigate men to an abounding sedu- 
lity in the observation of them, their minds were stuffed with 
traditions and stories of visions, apparitions, frightful spirits, 
and other imaginations that poor mortals are apt to be amazejd 


with, and which their restless disquietments gave countenance 
to. These were the principal objects of their creed, and matter 
of their religious conversation. That very church itself is 
comparatively at ease from these things, in comparison with 
what it was before the Reformation ; though so much of them 
is still retained, as to blind the eyes of men from discerning the 
necessity as well as the truth of the evangelical doctrine of 

It is fallen out herein not much otherwise than it did at the 
first entrance of Christianity into the world. For there was an 
emanation of light and truth from the gospel which at^ected 
the minds of men, by whom yet the whole of it in its general 
design, was opposed and persecuted. For from thence the 
very vulgar sort of men came to have better apprehensions and 
notions of God and his properties, or the original and rule of 
the universe, than they had arrived to in the midnight of their 
paganism. And a sort of learned speculative men there were, 
who by virtue of that light of truth which sprung from the 
gospel, and was now diffused into the minds of men, reformed 
and improved the old philosophy, discarding many of those 
falsehoods and impertinences wherewith it had been encum- 
bered. But when this was done, they still maintained their 
cause on the old principles of the philosophers, and indeed 
their opposition to the gospel was far more plausible and plead- 
able than it was before. For after they had discarded the gross 
conceptions of the common sort about the divine nature and 
rule, and had blended the light of truth which broke forth in 
the Christian religion with their own philosophical notions, 
they made a vigorous attempt for the reinforcement of hea- 
thenism against the main design of the gospel. And tilings 
have not, as I said, fallen out much otherwise in the Reforma- 
tion. For as by the light of truth which therein broke forth, 
the consciences of even the vulgar sort are in some measure 
freed from those childish terrors which they were before in 
bondage to; so those who are learned have been enabled to 
reduce the opinions and practices of their church, into a more 
defensible posture, and make their opposition to the truths of 
the gospel more plausible than they formerly were. Yea that 
doctrine which in the way of its teaching and practice among 
them, as also in its effects on the consciences of men, was so 
horrid as to drive innumerable persons from their commvmion 
in that and other things also, is now in the new representation 
of it, with the artificial covering provided for its former effects 


in practice, thought an argument meet to be pleaded for a 
return to its entire communion. 

]kit to root out the superstitions mentioned from the minds 
of men, to communicate to them the knowledge of the right- 
eousness of God which is revealed from faith to faith, and there- 
by to deliver them from their bondage, fears, and distress, 
directing convinced sinners to the only way of solid peace with 
God, did the first reformers labour so diligently in the declara- 
tion and vindication of the evangelical doctrine of justification; 
and God was with them. And it is worth our consideration, 
whether we should, on every cavil and sophism of men not so 
taught, not so employed, not so tried, not so owaied of God as 
they were, and in whose writings there do not appear such 
characters of wisdom, sound judgment, and deep experience 
as in theirs, easily part with that doctrine of truth, wherein 
alone they found peace to their own souls, and whereby they 
were instrumental -to give liberty and peace with God to the 
souls and consciences of others innumerable, accompanied with 
the visible effects of holiness of life, and fruitfulness in the 
works of righteousness, to the praise of God by Jesus Christ. 

In my judgment, Luther spake the truth when he said ; 
aniisso articulo Jiistijicationis, simul amissa est iota doctrina 
Christiana. " The loss of the article of Justification, involves 
the loss of the whole Christian doctrine." And I wish he had 
not been a true prophet, when he foretold that in the following 
ages the doctrine hereof would be again obscured ; the causes 
whereof I have elsewheie inquired into. 

Some late writers, indeed, among the Protestants, have en- 
deavoured to reduce the controversy about justification with 
the Papists, to an appearance of a far less real difference, than 
is usually judged to be in it. And a good work it is, no doubt, 
to pare off all unnecessary occasions of debate and differences 
in religion, provided we go not so near the quick, as to let out 
any of its vital spirits. The way taken herein is to proceed 
upon some concessions of the most sober among the Papists, m 
their ascriptions to grace and the merit of Christ on the one 
side ; and the express judgment of the Protestants variously 
delivered, of the necessity of good works to them that are jus- 
tified. Besides it appears that in different expressions which 
either party adhere to, as it were by tradition, the same things 
are indeed intended. Among those who have laboured in this 
kind, Ludovicus le Blanc, for his perspicuity and plainness, 
his moderation, and freedom from a contentious frame of spirit, 


is almost alone worthy to be read. He is like the ghost of 
Tiresias in tliis matter. But I must needs say, tiiat I have not 
seen the eifect that miglit be desired of any such undertaking. 
For when each party comes to the interpretation of their own 
co!icessions, which is in common justice to be allowed to them, 
and which they will be sure to do in compliance with their 
judgment, in the substance of the doctrine wherein the main 
stress of the difference lies, the distance and breach continue as 
wide as ever they were. Nor is there the least ground towards 
peace obtained by any of our condescensions or compliances 
herein. For unless we can come up entirely to the decrees 
and canons of the council of Trent, wherein the doctrine of the 
Old and New Testament is anathematized, they will make no 
other use of any men's compliances, but only to increase the 
clamour of differences among ourselves. I mention nothing of 
this nature to hinder any man from granting whatever he can 
or pleases to them, without the prejudice of the substance of 
truths professed in the Protestant churches ; but only to inti- 
mate the uselessness of such concessions in order to peace and 
agreement with them, whilst they have a Procrustes' bed to 
lay us upon : and from whose size they will not recede. 

Here and there one, (not above three or four in all, may be 
named within this hundred and thirty years,) in the Roman 
communion, has owned our doctrine of justification for the 
substance of it. So did Albertus Pighius and the Antidogma 
Coloniense, as Bellarmine acknowledges. And what he says 
of Pighius is true, as we shall see afterwards; the other I have 
not seen. Cardinal Contarenus, in a Treatise of Justification, 
written before, and published about the beginning of the Trent 
council, delivers himself in favour of it. But upon the obser- 
vation of what he had done, some say he was shortly after 
poisoned, though I must confess I know not where they had 
the report. 

]3iU do what we can for the sake of peace, (as too much 
cannot be done for it, with the safety of truth,) it cannot be 
denied but that the doctrine of justification as it works efiectu- 
ally in the church of Rome, is the foundation of many enor- 
mities among them both in judgment and practice. They do 
not continue, I acknowledge, in that visible predominancy and 
rage as formerly ; nor are the generality of the people in so 
much slavish bondage to them as they were. But the streams 
of them still issue from this corrupt fountain, to the dangerous 
infection of the souls of men. For the expiatory sacrifice of 


the mass for the Hving and the dead, the necessity of auricular 
confession, with authoritative absohition, penances, pilgrimages, 
S'lcramentals, indulgences, commutations, works satisfactory 
and supererogatory, the merit and intercession of saints depart- 
ed, with especial devotions and applications to this or that par- 
ticular saint or angel, purgatory, yea in fact the whole of 
monastic devotion, depend thereon. They are all nothing but 
ways invented to pacify the consciences of men, or divert them 
from attending to the charge which is given in against them 
by the law of God ; sorry supplies they are of a righteousness 
of their own, for them who know not how to submit themselves 
to the righteousness of God. And if the doctrine of free justi- 
fication by the blood of Christ were once again exploded, or 
corrupted and made unintelligible ; to these things, as absurd 
and foolish as now to some they seem to be, or to something 
not one jot better, men must and will again betake themselves. 
For if once they are diverted from putting their trust in the 
righteousness of Christ and grace of God alone, and do practi- 
cally thereon follow after, take up with, or rest in that which 
is their own, the first impressions of a sense of sin which shall 
befall their consciences, will drive them from their present hold, 
to seek for shelter in any thing that tenders to them the least 
appearance of relief. Men may talk and dispute what they 
please whilst they are at peace in their own minds without a 
real sense either of sin or righteousness ; yea and scoff at them 
who are not under the power of the same security. But when 
they shall be awakened with other apprehensions of things 
than yet they are aware of, they will be put on new resolutions. 
And it is in vain to dispute with any about justification, who 
have not been duly convinced of a state of sin, and of its guilt ; 
for such men neither understand what they say, nor that 
whereof they dogmatize. 

We have therefore the same reasons that the first reformers 
had to be careful about the preservation of this doctrine of the 
gospel pure and entire ; though we may not expect the like 
success with them in our endeavours to that end. For the 
minds of the generality of men are in another posture than 
they were, when they dealt with them. Under the power of 
ignorance and superstition they were, bat yet multitudes of 
them affected with a sense of the guilt of sin. With us for the 
most part things are quite otherwise. Notional light, accom- 
panied with an insensibility of sin, leads men to a contempt of 


this doctrine, indeed of the whole mystery of the gospel. We 
have had experience of the fruits of the faith which we now 
plead for in this nation for many years, yea now for some ages. 
And it cannot well be denied that those who have been most 
severely tenacious of the doctrine of justification by the imputa- 
tion of the righteousness of Christ, have been the most exem- 
plary in a holy life ; I speak of former days. And if this 
doctrine be yet further corrupted, debased, or unlearned among 
us, we shall quickly fall into one of the extremes wherewith 
we are at present urged on either side. For although the 
reliefs provided in the church of Rome, for the satisfaction of 
the consciences of men are at present by the most disliked, yea 
despised ; yet if they are once brought to a loss how to place 
their whole trust and confidence in the righteousness of Chris 
and grace of God in him, they will not always live at such an 
micertainty of mind, as the best of their own personal obedience 
will hang them on the briars of; but betake themselves to 
somewhat that tenders them certain peace and security, though 
at present it may seem foolish to them. And I doubt not that 
some, out of a mere ignorance of the righteousness of God, 
which either they have not been taught, or have no mind to 
learn, have with some integrity in the exercise of their con- 
sciences, betaken themselves to that pretended rest which the 
church of Rome offers them. For being troubled about their 
sins, they think it better to betake themselves to that great 
variety of means for the ease and discharge of their consciences 
which the Roman church affords, than to abide where they 
are, without the least pretence of relief, as men will find in due 
time, there is no such thing to be found or obtained in them- 
selves. They may go on for a time with good satisfaction to 
their own minds ; but if once they are brought to a loss through 
the conviction of sin, they nmst look beyond themselves for 
peace and satisfaction, or sit down without them to enternity. 
Nor are the principles and ways which others take up with in 
another extreme upon the rejection of this doctrine, although 
more plausible, yet at all more really useful to the souls of men, 
than those of the Roman church which they reject as obsolete, 
and misuited to the genius of the present age. For they all of 
them arise from, or lead to, the want of a due sense of the na- 
ture and guilt of sin, as also of the holiness and righteousness 
of God with respect thereto. And when such principles as 
these once grow prevalent in the minds of men, they quickly 


grow careless, negligent, secnre in sinning, and end for the 
most part in atheism, or a great indifference to all religion, and 
all the duties thereof. 




The means of justification on our part is faith. That We are 
"justified by faith," is so frequently, and so expressly affirmed 
in the Scripture, that it cannot directly and in terms by any be 
denied. For whereas some begin, by an excess of partiality 
to which controversial engagements and provocations incline 
them, to affirm that our justification is more frequently ascribed 
to other things, graces or duties, than to faith, it is to be passed 
by in silence, and not contended about. But yet also the ex- 
planation which some others make of this general concession, 
that we are justified by faith, does as fully overthrow what is 
affirmed therein, as if it were in terms rejected. And it would 
more advantage the understandings of men, if it were plainly 
refused upon its first proposal, than to be led about in a maze of 
words, and distinctions to its real exclusion; as is done both by 
the Romanists and Sociyians. At present we may take the 
proposition as granted, and only inquire into the true genuine 
sense and meaning of it. That which first occurs to our con- 
sideration is faith ; and that which concerns it may be reduced 
to two heads: (1) Its nature; (2) Its use in our justification. 

Of the nature of faith in general, of the especial nature of 
justifying faith, of its characteristic distinctions from that which 
is called faith, but is not justifying, so many discourses (divers 
of them the effects of sound judgment and good experience,) 
are already extant, that it is altogether needless to engage at 
large in a further discussion of them. However, something 
must be spoken to declare in what sense we understand these 
things; what is that faith to which we ascribe our justification, 
and what is its use therein. 

The distinctions that are usually made concerning faith, (as it 
is a word of various significations) I shall wholly omit ; not only 
as obvious and known, but as not belonging to our present ar- 


gument. That which we are concerned in is, that in the Scrip- 
ture there is mention made plainly of a twofold faith, whereby 
men believe the gospel. For there is a faith whereby we are 
justified, which lie who has shall be assuredly saved, which 
purifies the heart, and works by love. And there is a faith or 
believing which does nothing of all this ; which he who has, 
and has no more, is not justified, nor can be saved. Wherefore 
every faith, whereby men are said to believe, is not justifying. 
Thus it is said of Simon the Magician that he "believed," Acts 
viii. 1 3 ; when he was " in the gall of bitterness and bond of 
iniquity," and therefore did not believe with that faith which 
purifieth the heart," Acts xv. 9, And, that "many believed on 
the name of Jesus when they saw the miracles that he did, but 
Jesus did not commit himself unto them because he knew what 
was in man," John ii. 23, 24. They did not believe on his 
name as those do, or with that kind of faith, who thereon re- 
ceive "power to become the sons of God," John i. 12. And 
some when they hear the word, receive it with joy, believing 
for a while, but have no root; Luke viii. 13. And faith with- 
out a root in the heart will not justify any. For " with the 
heart men believe unto righteousness," Rom. x. 10. So it is 
with them who shall cry, at the last day. Lord, Lord, have we 
not prophesied in thy name ? whilst yet they were always 
"workers of iniquity," Matt. vii. 22, 23. 

This faith is usually called historical faith. But this denomi- 
nation is not taken from the object of it, as though it were only 
the history of the Scripture, or the historical things contained 
in it. For it respects the whole truth of the word, yea of the 
promises of the gospel as well as other things. But it is so 
called from the nature of the assent wherein it consists. For 
it is such as we give to historical things that are credibly testi- 
fied to us. 

And this faith has divers differences or degrees, both in re- 
spect to the grounds or reasons of it, and also its effects. For 
as to the first, all faith is an assent upon testimony ; and divine 
faith is an assent upon a divine testimony. According as this 
testimony is received, so are the differences or degrees of this 
faith. Some apprehend it on human motives only, and its cre- 
dibility to the judgment of reason ; and their assent is a mere 
natural act of their understanding, which is the lowest degree 
of this historical faith. Some have their minds enabled to it by 
spiritual illumination, making a discovery of the evidences of 
divme truth whereon it is to be believed; the assent they give 


hererm u more firm and operative than that of the former 

AgaiA, It has its dilFerences or degrees with respect to its 
effects. Witu some it no way or very Uttle influences the will 
or the affeciioixs, or works any change in the lives of men. So 
is it with them mat piofess they believe the gospel, and yet live 
in all manner at bins. In this degree it is called by the Apostle 
James, a dead J ml a, and is compared to a dead carcass, without 
life or motion ; and it is an assent of the very same nature and 
kind with that which devils are compelled to give. And this 
faith abounds in the world. With others it has an effectual 
work upon the affeciious, and that in many degrees also, re- 
presented in the several sorts of ground whereinto the seed of 
the word is cast ; and pioduces many effects in their lives. In 
the utmost improvement of it, both as to the evidence it pro- 
ceeds from, and the effects it produces, it is usually called te7n- 
porary faith; for it is neither permanent against all oppositions, 
nor will bring any to eternal rest. The name is taken from 
that expression of our Saviour concerning him who believes 
with this faith, rtpocrxatpoj fffti, " dureth for a while," Matt, 
xiii. 21. 

This faith I grant to be true in its kind, and not merely to be 
equivocally so called; it is not rttcmj ^-tuSwrr^oj, "a faith falsely 
so called," it is so as to the general nature of faith; but of the 
same special nature with justifying faith it is not. Justifying 
faith is not a higher, or the highest degree of this faith, but is 
of another kind or nature. Wherefore sundry things may be 
observed concerning this faith in the utmost improvement of it 
to our present purpose. As, 

1. This faith with all the effects of it, men may have, and 
not be justified; and if they have not faith of another kind they 
cannot be justified. For justification is no where ascribed to 
it, yea it is affirmed by the Apostle James, that none can be 
justified by it. 

2. It may produce great effects in the minds, affections, and 
lives of men, although not one of those that are peculiar to 
justifying faith. Yet such they may be, as that those in whom 
they are wrought may be, and ought in the judgment of charity 
to be looked on as true believers. 

3. This is that faith which may be alone. We are justified 
by faith alone. But we are not justified by that faith which 
can be alone. Alone, respects its influence on our justification, 
not its nature and existence. And we absolutely deny that 


we can be justified by that faith which can be alone, that is 
witliout a principle of spiritual life and universal obedience, 
operative in all the works of it, as duty requires. 

These things I have observed, only to obviate that calumny 
and reproach which some endeavour to fix on the doctrine of 
justification by faith only, through the mediation of Christ. 
For those who assert it must be Solifidians, Antinomians, and 
I know not what ; such as oppose or deny the necessity of uni- 
versal obedience or good works. Most of those who manage 
it cannot but know in their own consciences that this charge is 
false. But this is the way of handling controversies with many. 
They can aver any thing that seems to advantage the cause 
they plead, to the great scandal of religion. If by Solifidians, 
they mean those who believe that faith alone is, on our part, 
the means, instrument, or condition (of which afterwards) of 
our justification, all the Prophets and Apostles were so, and 
were so taught by Jesus Christ, as shall be proved. If they 
mean, those who affirm that the faith whereby we are justified 
is alone, separate or separable from a principle and the fruit of 
holy obedience, they must find them out themselves, we know 
nothing of them. For we allow no faith to be of the same 
kind or nature with that whereby we are justified, but what 
virtually and radically contains in it universal obedience, as 
the efiect is in the cause, the fruit in the root ; and which acts 
itself in all particular duties, according as by rule and circum- 
stances they are made so to be. Yea we allow no faith to be 
justifying, or to be of the same kind with it, which is not itself 
and in its own nature a spiritually vital principle of obedience 
and good works. And if this be not sufficient to prevail with 
some, not to seek for advantages by such shameful calumnies, 
yet is it so with others, to free their minds from any concern- 
ment in them. 

For the especial nature of justifying faith which we inquire 
mto, the things whereby it is evidenced may be reduced to 
these four heads. (1) The causes of it on the part of God. (2) 
What is in us previously required to it. (3) The proper object 
of it. (4) Its proper peculiar acts and effects. Which shall be 
spoken to so far as is necessary to our present design. 

1. The doctrine of the causes of faith as to its first original 
in the divine will, and the way of its communication to us, is 
so large, and so mixed with that of the way and manner of the 
operation of efficacious grace in conversion (which 1 have han- 
dled elsewhere) that I shall not here insist upon it. For as it 


cannot in a few words be spoken to according to its weight 
and worth, so to engage in a full handling of it, would too 
much divert us from our present argument. This I shall only 
say, that from thence it may be uncontrollably evidenced, that 
the faith whereby we are justified, is of an especial kuid or 
nature, wherein no other faith which justification is not insepa- 
rable from, partakes with it. 

2. Wherefore our first inquiry is concerning what was pro- 
posed in the second place, namely, what is on our part, in a 
way of duty, previously required thereto ; or what is necessary 
to be found hi us antecedent to our believing to the justifica- 
tion of life. And I say there is supposed in them in whom this 
faith is wrought, on whom it is bestowed, and whose duty it 
is to believe therewith, the work of the law in the conviction 
of sin ; or conviction of sin is a necessary antecedent to justify- 
ing faith. Many have disputed what belongs hereto, and what 
effects it produces in the mind, that dispose the soul to the re- 
ceiving of the promise of the gospel. But whereas there are 
different apprehensions about these effects or concomitants of 
conviction, (in compunction, humiliation, self-judging, with 
sorrow for sin committed, and the like) as also about the de- 
grees of them, as ordinarily prerequired to faith and conversion 
to God ; I shall speak very briefly to them, so far as they are 
inseparable from the conviction asserted. And I shall first con- 
sider this conviction itself, with what is essential thereto, and 
then the effects of it in conjunction with that temporary faith 
before spoken of I shall do so, not as to their nature, the 
knowledge whereof I take for granted, but only as they have 
•respect to our justification. 

As to the first I say, the work of conviction in general, 
whereby the soul of man has a practical understanding of the 
nature of sin, its guilt and the punishment due to it, and is 
made sensible of his own interest therein, both with respect to 
sin original and actual, with his own utter inability to deliver 
himself out of the state and condition, wherein on the account 
of these things he finds himself to be, is that which we atfirm 
to be antecedently necessary to justifying faith; that is in the 
adult, and of whose justification the word is the external means 
and instrument. 

A convinced sinner alone is a subject capable of justification ; 
not that every one that is convinced is or must necessarily be 
justified. There is not any such disposition or preparation of 
the subject by this conviction, its effects and consequences, 


as that the form of justification, as the Papists speak, or justi- 
fving grace must necessarily ensue or be introduced thereon. 
Nor is there any such preparation in it, as that by virtue of 
any divine compact or promise, a person so convinced, shall 
be pardoned and justified. But as a man may believe with 
any kind of faith that is not justifying, such as that before 
mentioned, without this conviction, so it is ordinarily and neces- 
sarily previous to that faith which is to the justification of life. 
The motive to it, is not that thereon a man shall be assuredly 
justified; but that without it he cannot be so. 

This I say is required in the person to be justified in order of 
nature antecedent to that faith whereby we are justified, which 
we shall prov^e whh the ensuing arguments. For (1) without 
the due consideration and supposition of it, the true nature of 
faith can never be understood. For as we have showed before, 
justification is God's way of the deliverance of the convinced 
sinner, or one Avhose "mouth is stopped," and who is " guilty 
before God," obnoxious to the law, and shut up under sin. 
A sense therefore of this estate and all that belongs to it, is 
required to believing. Hence Le Blanc who has searched 
with some diligence into these things, commends the definition 
of faith given by Mestrezat ; that it is "the flight of a penitent 
sinner to the mercy of God in Christ." And there is indeed 
more sense and truth in it, than in twenty other that seem 
more accurate. But without a supposition of the conviction 
mentioned, there is no understanding of this definition of faith. 
For it is that alone which puts the soul upon a flight to the 
mercy of God in Christ, to be saved from the wrath to come ; 
Heb. vi. 18 ; " fled for refuge." 

2. The order, relation, and use of the law and the gospel 
uncontrollably evince the necessity of this conviction pre- 
viously to believing. For that which any man has first to 
deal with, with respect to his eternal condition, both naturally 
and by God's institution, is the laiv. This is first presented to 
the soul, with its terms of righteousness and life, and with its 
curse in case of failure. Without this the gospel cannot be 
understood, nor the grace of it duly valued. For it is the reve- 
lation of God's way for the relieving the souls of men from the 
sentence and curse of the law, Rom. i. 17. That was the 
nature, that was the use and end of the first promise, and of 
the whole work of God's grace revealed in all the ensuing 
promises, or in the whole gospel. Wherefore the faith which 
we treat of being evangelical, that which in its especial nature 


and use, not the law but the gospel requires, that which has 
the gospel for its principle, rule, and object, it is not required 
of us, cannot be acted by us, but on a supposition of the work 
and etfect of the law in" the conviction of sin, by giving the 
knowledge of it, a sense of its guilt, and the state of the sinner 
on the account thereof. And that faith which has not respect 
hereto, we absolutely deny to be that faith whereby we are 
justified. Gal. iii. 22 — 24. Rom. x. 4. 

3. This our Saviour himself directly teaches in the gospel. 
For he calls to him only those who are " weary and heavy 
laden," affirms that " the whole have no need of the physician 
but the sick;" and that he "came not to call the righteous but 
sinners to repentance." In all which he intends not those who 
were really sinners, as all men are, for he makes a difference 
between them, offering the gospel to some and not to others ; 
but such as were convinced of sin, burdened with it, and sought 
after deliverance. 

So those to whom the Apostle Peter proposed the promise 
of the gospel with the pardon of sin thereby, as the object of 
gospel faith, were "pricked to the heart" upon the conviction 
of their sin, and cried, " What shall we do ?" Acts ii. 37 — 39. 
Such also was the state of the jailor to whom the Apostle 
Paul proposed salvation by Christ, as what he was to believe 
for his deliverance. Acts xvi. 30, 31. 

4. The state of Adam and God's dealing with him therein, 
is the best representation of the order and method of these 
things. As he was after the fall, so are we by nature in the very 
same state and condition. Really he was utterly lost by sin, 
and convinced he was both of the nature of his sin, and of the 
effects of it, in that act of God by the law on his mind, which 
is called the opening of his eyes. For it was nothing but the 
communication to his mind by his conscience of a sense of the 
nature, guilt, effects, and consequences of sin, which the law 
could then teach him, and could not do so before. This fills 
him with shame and fear; against the former whereof he pro- 
vided by fig-leaves, and against the latter by hiding himself 
among the trees of the garden. Nor, however they may please 
themselves with them, are any of the contrivances of men, for 
freedom and safety from sin, either wiser or more likely to 
have success. In this condition, God by an immediate inqui- 
sition into the matter of fact, sharpens this conviction by the 
addition of his own testimony to its truth, and casts him actuaUy 
under the curse of the law, in a juridical denunciation of it 

88 jusTirrixG faith. 

In this lost, forlorn, hopeless condition God proposes the pro- 
mise of redemption by Christ to him. And this was the object 
of that faith whereby he was to be justified. 

Although these things are not thus eminently and distinctly 
transacted in the minds and consciences of all who are called 
to believing by the gospel, yet for the substance of them, and 
as to the previousness of the conviction of sin to faith, they are 
found in all that sincerely believe. 

These things are known, and for the substance of them gene- 
ally agreed to. But yet are they such as being duly considered 
will discover the vanity and mistakes of many definitions of 
fahh that are obtruded on us. For any definition or description 
of it, which has not express, or at least virtual respect hereto, 
is but a deceit, and no way answers the experience of them 
that truly believe. And such are all those who place it merely 
in an assent to divine revelation, of what nature soever that 
assent be, and whatever effects are ascribed to it. For such an 
assent there may be without any respect to this work of the 
law. Nor do I, to speak plainly, at all value the most accurate 
disputations of any about the nature and act of justifying faith, 
who ncA^er had in themselves an experience of the work of the 
law in conviction and condemnation for sin, with the effects of 
it upon their consciences; or who omit the due consideration 
of their own experience, wherein what they truly belive is 
better stated than in all their disputations. That faith whereby 
we are justified is in general the acting of the soul towards God, 
as revealing himself in the gospel for deliverance out of this 
state and condition, or from under the curse of the law applied 
to the conscience, according to his mind, and by the ways that 
he has appointed. I give not this as any definition of faith, 
but only express, what has a necessary influence upon it, 
whence the nature of it may be discerned. 

2. The effects of this conviction, with their respect to our 
justification, real or pretended, may also be briefly considered. 
And whereas this conviction is a mere work of the law, it is 
not with respect to these effects to be considered alone, but in 
conjunction with, and under the conduct of that temporary 
faith of the gospel before described. And these two, tempo- 
rary faith and legal conviction, are the principles of all works 
or duties in religion antecedent to justification, and which 
therefore we must deny to have in them any causality thereof. 
But it is granted that many acts and duties both internal and 
external, will ensue on real convictions. Those that are inter- 


nal may be reduced to three heads. (1) Displeasure and 
sorrow that we have sinned. It is impossible that any one 
should be really convinced of sin in the way before declared, 
but that a dislike of sin, and of himself that he has sinned, 
shame of it, and sorrow for it, will ensue thereon. And it is a 
sufficient evidence that he is not really convinced of sin, wliat- 
ever he profess, or whatever confession he make, whose mind 
is not so affected, Jer. xxxvi. 24. (2) Fear of punishment due 
to sin. , For conviction respects not only the instructive and 
preceptive part of the law, whereby the being and nature of 
sin are discovered, but the sentence and curse of it also, where- 
by it is judged and condemned. Gen. iv. 13, 14. Wherefore, 
where fear of the punishment threatened does not ensue, no 
person is really convinced of sin ; nor has the law had its pro- 
per work towards him, as it is previous to the administra- 
tion of the gospel. And whereas by faith we " flee from the 
wrath to come," where there is not a sense and apprehension 
of that wrath as due to us, there is no ground or reason for 
our believing. (3) A desire of deliverance from that state 
wherein a convinced sinner finds himself upon his conviction, 
is unavoidable to him. And it is naturally the first thing that 
conviction works in the minds of men, and that in various de- 
grees of care, fear, solicitude and restlessness, which from ex- 
perience and the conduct of Scripture light, have been explained 
by many, to the great benefit of the church, and sufficiently 
derided by others. These internal acts of the mind will also 
produce sundry external duties which may be referred to 
two heads, (1) Abstinence from known sin to the utmost of 
men's power. For they who begin to find that it is an evil 
thing and a bitter that they have sinned against God, cannot 
but endeavour a future abstinence from it. And as this has 
respect to all the former internal acts, as causes of it, so it is a 
peculiar consequence of the last of them, the desire of deliver- 
ance from the state wherein such persons are. For this they 
suppose to be the best expedient for it, or at least that without 
which it will not be. And herein usually their spirits act by 
promises and vows, with renewed sorrow on surprisals into 
sin, which will befall them in that condition. (2) The duties of 
religious worship in prayer and hearing of the word, with dili- 
gence in the use of the ordinances of the church, will ensue 
hereon. For without these they know that no deliverance is 
to be obtained. Reformation of life and conversation in va- 
rious degrees partly consists in these things, and partly follows 


upon them. And these things are always so, where the con- 
victions of men are real and abiding. 

But yet it must be said, that they are neither severally nor 
jointly, though in the highest degree, either necessary disposi- 
tions, preparations, previous congruities in a way of merit, or 
conditions of our justification. For, 

1. They are not conditions of justification. For where one 
thing is the condition of another, that other thing must follow 
the fulfilling of that condition. Otherwise it is not the condition 
of it. But they may be all found where justification does not 
ensue. Wherefore there is no covenant, promise, or constitu- 
tion of God, making them to be such conditions of justification, 
though in their own nature they may be subservient to what 
is required of us with respect thereto. But a certain infallible 
connexion with it by virtue of any promise or covenant of God 
(as it is with faith) they have not. And other condition, but 
what is constituted and made to be so by divine compact or 
promise, is not to be allowed. For otherwise conditions might 
be endlessly multiplied, and all things natural as well as moral 
made to be so. So the meat we eat may be a condition of 
justification. Faith and justification are inseparable, but so 
are not justification and the things we now insist upon, as 
experience evinces. 

2. Justification may be where the outward acts and duties 
mentioned, proceeding from convictions under the conduct of 
temporary faith, are not. For Adam was justified witliout 
them, so also were the converts in the Acts, chap. ii. For what 
is reported concerning them is all of it essentially included in 
conviction ; ver. 37. And so likewise was it with the jailor ; 
Acts xvi. .30, 31. And as to many of them, it is so with most 
that do believe. Therefore they are not conditions. For a 
condition suspends the event of that whereof it is a condition. 

3. They are not formal dispositions to justification, because 
it consists not in the introduction of any new form or inherent 
quality in the soul, as has been in part already declared, and 
shall yet afterwards be more fully evinced. Nor 4, are they 
moral preparations for it; for being antecedent to evangelical 
faith, no man can have any design in them, but only to seek 
for righteousness by the works of the law, which is no prepa- 
ration to justification. All discoveries of the righteousness of 
God, with the soul's adherence to it, belong to faith alone 
There is indeed a repentance which accompanies faith, and is 
included in the nature of it, at least radically. This is re- 


quired to our justification. But that legal repentance which 
precedes gospel faith and is without it, is neither a disposition, 
preparation, nor condition of our justification. 

In brief, the order of these things may be observed in the 
dealing of God with Adam, as was before intimated. And there 
are three degrees in it. (1) The opening of the eyes of the sin- 
ner, to see the filth and guilt of sin in the sentence and curse 
of the law applied to his conscience, Rom. vii. 9, 10. This 
effects in the mind of the sinner the things before mentioned, 
and puts him upon all the duties that spring from them. For 
persons on their first convictions ordinarily judge no more but 
that their state being evil and dangerous, it is their duty to 
better it, and that they can or shall do so accordingly, if they 
apply themselves to it. But all these things as to a protection 
or deliverance from the sentence of the law, are no better than 
fig-leaves and hiding. (2) Ordinarily God by his providence, 
or in the dispensation of the word, gives life and power to this 
work of the law in a peculiar manner ; in answer to the charge 
which he gave to Adam after his attempt to hide himself. 
Hereby the mouth of the sinner is stopped, and he becomes 
thoroughly sensible of his guilt before God, and satisfied that 
there is no relief or deliverance to be expected from any of 
those ways of sorrow or duty that he has put himself upon. 
(3) In this condition it is a mere act of sovereign grace, with- 
out any respect to these things foregoing, to call the sinner to 
believing, or faith in the promise, to the justification of life. 
This is God's order ; yet so that what precedes his call to faith, 
has no causality thereof. 

3. The next thing to be inquired into is the proper object of 
justifying faith, or of true faith, in its office, work and duty, 
with respect to our justification. And herein we must first 
consider what we cannot so well close with. For besides other 
differences that seem to be about it, which indeed are but dif- 
ferent explanations of the same thing for the substance, there 
are two opinions which are looked on as extremes, the one in 
an excess and the other in defect. The first is that of the Ro- 
man church, and those who comply with them therein. And 
this is, that the object of justifying faith as such, is all divine 
verity, all divine revelation, whether written in the Scripture, 
or delivered by tradition represented to us by the authority of 
the church. In the latter part of this description we are not at 
present concerned. That the whole Scripture and all the parts 
of it, and all the truths of what sort soever they be that are con- 


tallied in it, are equally the object of faith in the discharge of 
its office in our justification, is that which they maintain. Hence 
as to the nature of it they cannot allow it to consist in any 
thing but an assent of the mind. For supposing the whole Scrip- 
ture, and all contained in it, laws, precepts, promises, threaten- 
ings, stories, prophecies, and the like, to be the object of it, and 
these not as containing in them things good or evil to us, but 
under this formal consideration as divinely revealed, they can- 
not assign or allow any other act of the mind to be required 
hereto, but assent only. And so confident are they herein, 
namely, that faith is no more than an assent to divine revela- 
tion, as that Bellarmine in opposition to Calvin, who placed 
knowledge in the description of justifying faith, affirms that 
it is better defined by ignorance than by knowledge. 

This description of justifying faith and its object, has been so 
discussed, and on such evident grounds of Scripture and reason 
rejected by Protestant writers of all sorts, that it is needless to 
insist much upon it again. Some things I shall observe in re- 
lation to it, whereby we may discover what is of truth in what 
they assert, and wherein it falls short thereof Neither shall I 
respect only them of the Roman church, who require no more 
to faith or believing, but only a bare assent of the mind to di- 
vine revelations, but them also who place it wholly in such 
a firm assent as produces obedience to all divine commands. 
For as it does both these, as both these are included in it, so 
to the especial nature of it more is required. It is, as justifying, 
neither a mere assent, nor any such firm degree of it, as should 
produce such effects. 

1. All faith whatever is an act of that power of our souls in 
general, whereby we are able firmly to assent to the truth upon 
testimony, in things not evident to us by sense or reason. It is 
" the evidence of things not seen." And all divine faith is in 
general an assent to the truth that is proposed to us upon divine 
testimony. And hereby, as it is commonly agreed, it is dis- 
tinguished from opinion and moral certainty on the one hand, 
and science or demonstration on the other. 

2. Wherefore in justifying faith, there is an assent to all di- 
vine revelation upon the testimony of God the revealer. By 
no other act of our mind, wherein this is not included or sup- 
posed, can we be justified ; not because it is not justifying, but 
because it is not faith. This assent I say is included in justi- 
fying faith. And therefore we find it often spoken of in the 
Scripture (the instances whereof are gathered up by Bellarmine 


and others,) with respect to other things, and not restrained to 
the especial promise of grace in Christ, which is that which 
they oppose. But besides, that in most places of that kind, 
the proper object of faith as justifying is included and ultimately 
referred to, though diversely expressed by some of its causes 
or concomitant adjuncts, it is granted that we believe all divine 
truth, with that very faith whereby we are justified, so that 
other things may well be ascribed to it. 

3. On these concessions we yet say two things. (1) That the 
whole nature of justifying faith does not consist merely in an 
assent of the mind, be it never so firm and steadfast, nor what- 
ever effects of obedience it may produce. (2) That in its duty 
and office in justification, whence it has that especial denomi- 
nation, which alone we are in the explanation of, it does not 
equally respect all divine revelation as such, but has a peculiar 
object proposed to it in the Scripture. And whereas both these 
will be immediately evinced in our description of the proper 
object and nature of faith, I shall at present oppose some few 
things to this description of them, sufficient to manifest how 
foreign it is from the truth. 

1. This assent is an act of the understanding only ; an act 
of the mind with respect to truth evidenced to it, be it of what 
nature it will. So we believe the worst of things and the most 
grievous to us, as well as the best and the most useful. But 
believing is an act of the heart, which in the Scripture com- 
prises all the faculties of the soul, as one entire principle of 
moral and spiritual duties. " With the heart man believeth 
unto righteousness." Rom. x. 10. And it is frequently described 
by an act of the will, though it be not so alone. But without 
an act of the will no man can believe as he ought. See John 
v. 40; John i. 12, chap. vi. 35. We come to Christ in an act 
of the will, and let " whosoever will " come. 'And to " be 
willing" is taken for to believe, Psa. ex. 3, and " unbelief" is 
disobedience, Heb. iii. 18, 19. 

2. All divine truth is equally the object of this assent. It 
respects not the especial nature or use of any one truth, be it 
of what kind it will, more than another ; nor can it do so, since 
it regards only divine revelation. Hence that Judas was the 
traitor must have as great an influence upon our justification, 
as that Christ died for our sins. But how contrary this is to 
the Scripture, the analogy of faith, and the experience of all 
that believe, needs neither declaration nor confirmation. 

3. This assent to all divine revelation mav be true and sin- 


cere, where there has been no previous work of the law, nor 
any conviction of sin. No such tiling is required thereto, nor 
are they found in many who yet do so assent to the truth. 
But, as we have showed, this is necessary to evangelical justi- 
fying faith ; and to suppose the contrary is to overthrow the 
order and use of the law and gospel, with their mutual relation 
to one another in subservience to the design of God in the sal- 
vation of sinners. 

4. It is not a way of seeking relief to a convinced sinner, 
whose mouth is stopped, in that he is become guilty before 
God. Such alone are capable subjects of justification, and do 
or can seek after it in a due manner. A mere assent to divine 
revelation is not peculiarly suited to give such persons relief. 
For it is that which brings them into that condition, from 
whence they are to be relieved. For the knowledge of sin is 
by the law. But faith is a peculiar acting of the soul for deli- 

5. It is no more than what the devils themselves have, as the 
Apostle James affirms. For that instance of their believing 
one God, proves that they believe also whatever this one God, 
who is the first essential truth, reveals to be true. And it 
may consist with all manner of wickedness, and without any 
obedience ; and so make God a liar, 1 John ii. 4. And it is no 
wonder if men deny us to be justified by faith, who know no 
other faith but this. 

6. It no way answers the descriptions that are given of jus- 
tifying faith in the Scripture. Particularly it is by faith as it 
is justifying that we are said to " receive Christ;" John i. 12; 
Col. ii. 6. To receive the promise, the word, the grace of God, 
the atonement, James i. 21; John iii. 33; Acts ii, 41, chap. xi. 
1 ; Rom. V. 1 1 ; Heb. xi. 1 7. To cleave unto God, Deut. iv. 
4; Acts xi. 23. And so in the Old Testament it is generally 
expressed by trust and hope. Now none of these thing are 
contained in a mere assent to the truth ; but they require other 
actings of the soul than what are peculiar to the understanding 

7. It answers not the experience of them that truly believe. 
This all our inquiries and arguments in this matter must have 
respect to. For the sum of what we aim at, is only to discover 
what they do, who really believe to the justification of life: It 
is not what notions men may have hereof, nor how they ex- 
press their conceptions, how defensible they are against objec- 
tions by accuracy of expressions and subtile distinctions ; but 


only what we ourselves do, if we truly believe, that we inquire 
after. And although our differences about it argue the great 
imperfection of that state wherein we are, so that those who 
truly believe cannot agree what they do in their so doing, 
which should give us a mutual tenderness and forbearance 
towards each other ; yet if men would attend to their own 
experience in the application of their souls to God, for the 
pardon of sin and righteousness to life, more than to the notions 
which on various occasions their minds are influenced by, or 
prepossessed with, many differences and unnecessary disputa- 
tions about the nature of justifying faith would be prevented 
or cut off. I deny therefore that this general assent to the truth, 
how firm soever it be, or what effects in the way of duty or 
obedience soever it may produce, answers the experience of 
any one true believer, as containing the entire actings of his 
soul towards God for pardon of sin and justification. 

S. That faith alone is justifying which has justification ac- 
tually accompanying it. For thence alone it has that deno- 
mination. To suppose a man to have justifying faith, and not 
to be justified, is to suppose a contradiction. Nor do we in- 
quire after the nature of any other faith but that whereby a 
believer is actually justified. But it is not so with all them in 
whom this assent is found; nor will those that plead for it, allow 
that upon it alone any are immediately justified. Wherefore it is 
sufficiently evident that there is somewhat more required to jus- 
tifying faith, than a real assent to all divine revelations, although 
we give that assent by the faith whereby we are justified. 

But on the other side, it is supposed that, by some, the object 
of justifying faith is so much restrained, and the nature of it 
thereby determined to such a peculiar acting of the mind, as 
comprises not the whole of what is in the Scripture ascribed to 
it. So some have said, that it is the pardon of our sins in par- 
ticular that is the object of justifying faith; faith therefore they 
make to be a full persuasion of the forgiveness of our sins 
through the mediation of Christ; or that what Christ did and 
suffered as our mediator, he did for us in particular. And a 
particular application of especial mercy to our own souls and 
consciences is hereby made the essence of faith. Or to believe 
that our own sins are forgiven, seems hereby to be the first 
and most proper act of justifying faith. Hence it would follow 
that whosoever does not believe, or has not a firm persuasion 
of the forgiveness of his own sins in particular, has no saving 
faith, is no true believer; which is by no means to be admitted. 


And if any have been or are of this opinion, I fear that they 
were in the asserting of it, neghgent of their own experience : 
or it may be rather, that the}^ knew not how in their experience 
all the other actings of faith, wherein its essence consists, were 
included in this persuasion, which in an especial manner they 
aimed at ; whereof we shall speak afterwards. And there is 
no doubt to me but that this which they propose, faith is suited 
to, aims at, and ordinarily effects in true believers, who improve 
it, and grow in its exercise in a due manner. 

Many great divines at the first Reformation, did (as the 
Lutherans generally yet do) thus make the mercy of God in 
Christ, and thereby the forgiveness of our own sins, to be the 
proper object of justifying faith, as such; whose essence there- 
fore they placed in a fiducial trust in the grace of God by Christ 
declared in the promises, with a certain unwavering applica- 
tion of them to ourselves. And I say with some confidence, 
that those who endeavour not to attain to this, either under- 
stand not the nature of believing, or are very negligent both 
of the grace of God, and of their own peace. 

That which inclined those great and holy persons so to ex- 
press themselves in this matter, and to place the essence of faith 
in the highest acting of it, (wherein yet they always included 
and supposed its other acts) was the state of the consciences 
of men with whom they had to do. Their contest in this 
article with the Roman Church, was about the way and means 
whereby the consciences of convinced troubled sinners might 
come to rest and peace with God. For at that time they were 
no otherwise instructed, but that these things were to be ob- 
tained, not only by works of righteousness which men did 
themselves in obedience to the commands of God, but also by 
the strict observance of many inventions of wliat they called 
the church ; with an ascription of a strange etficacy to the same 
ends, to the sacrifice of the mass, sacraments, absolutions, pe- 
nances, pilgrimages, and other the like superstitions. Hereby 
they observed that the consciences of men were kept in perpe- 
tual disquietments, perplexities, fears and bondage, exclusive 
of that rest, assurance, and peace with God through the blood 
of Christ, which the gospel proclaims and tenders. And when 
the leaders of the people in that church had observed this, that 
indeed the ways and means which they proposed and present- 
ed, would never bring the souls of men to rest, nor give them 
the least assurance of the pardon of sins, they made it a part 
of their doctrine, that the belief of the pardon of our own sins, 


and assurance of the love of God in Christ, were false and per- 
nicious. For what should they else do, when they knew well 
enough, that in their Avay, and by their propositions they were 
not to be attained? Hence the principal controversy in this 
matter which the reformed divines had with those of the church 
of Rome was this, whether there be according to and by the 
gospel, a state of rest and assured peace with God to be at- 
tained in this life. And having all advantages imaginable for 
the proof hereof, from the very nature, use, and end of the 
gospel, from the grace, love, and design of God in Christ, from 
the efficacy of his mediation in his oblation and intercession, 
they assigned these things to be the especial object of justifying 
faith, and that faith itself to be a fiducial trust in the especial 
grace and mercy of God, through the blood of Christ, as pro- 
posed in the promises of the gospel. That is, they directed 
the souls of men to seek for peace with God, the pardon of sin, 
and a right to the heavenly inheritance, by placing their sole 
trust and confidence in the mercy of God by Christ alone. But 
yet withal I never read any of them, (I know not what others 
have done,) who affirmed that every true and sincere be- 
liever always had a full assurance of the especial love of God 
in Christ, or of the pardon of his own sins; though they plead 
that this the Scripture requires of them in a way of duty, and 
that this they ought to aim at the attahmient of. 

And these things I shall leave as I find them, to the use of 
the church. For I shall not contend with any about the way 
and manner of expressing the truth, where the substance of it 
is retained. That which in these things is aimed at, is the ad- 
vancement and glory of the grace of God in Christ, with the 
conduct of the souls of men to rest and peace whh him. Where 
this is attained or aimed at, and that in the way of truth for 
the substance of it, variety of apprehensions and expressions 
concerning the same things, may tend to the useful exercise of 
the faith and edification of the church. Wherefore neither op- 
posing nor rejecting what has been delivered by others as their 
judgments herein, I shall propose my own thoughts concerning 
it ; not without some hopes that they may tend to communicate 
light in the knowledge of the thing itself inquired into, and the 
reconciliation of some differences about it amongst learned and 
holy men. I say therefore, that the Lord Jesus Christ himself, 
as the ordinance of God in his work of mediation for the reco- 
very and salvation of lost sinners, and as to that end proposed 
in the promise of the gospel, is the adequate proper object of 



justifying faith, or of saving faith in its work and duty with 
respect to our justification. 

The reason why I thus state the ohject of justifying faith, is 
because it completely answers all that is ascribed to it in the 
Scripture, and all that the nature of it requires. What belongs 
to it as faith in general is here supposed; and what is peculiar 
to it as justifying, is fully expressed. And a few things will 
serve for the explication of the thesis which shall afterwards 
be confirmed. 

1. The Lord Jesus Christ himself is asserted to be the pro- 
per object of justifying faith. For so it is required in all those 
testimonies of Scripture where that faith is declared to be our 
"believing in him, on his name," our "receiving of him, or 
looking to him," to which the promise of justification and 
eternal life is annexed; whereof afterwards. See John i. 12 ; 
hi. 16, 36 ; vi. 29,47 ; vii. 38 ; xv. 25. Acts x. 41; xiii. 38, 39; 
xvi. 31 ; xxvi. 18, &.C. 

2. He is not proposed as the object of our faith to the justi- 
fication of life absolutely, but as the ordinance of God even 
the Father to that end, who therefore also is the immediate 
object of faith as justifying; in what respects we shall declare 
immediately. So justification is frequently ascribed to faith as 
peculiarly acted on him, John v. 24. " He that believeth on 
him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into 
judgment, but is passed from death into life." And herein is 
comprised that grace, love and favour of God, which is the 
principal moving cause of our justification, Rom. iii. 23, 24. 
Add hereto, John vi. 29., and the object of faith is complete. 
" This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he 
hath sent." God the Father as sending, and the Son as sent, 
that is, Jesus Christ in the work of his mediation, as the ordi- 
nance of God for the recovery and salvation of lost sinners, is 
the object of our faith, See 1 Pet. i. 21. 

3. That he may be the object of our faith, whose general na- 
ture consists in assent, which is the foundation of all its other acts, 
he is proposed in the promises of the gospel, which I therefore 
place as concurring to its complete object. Yet do I not herein 
consider the promises merely as peculiar divine revelations, in 
which sense they belong to the formal object of faith; but as they 
contain, propose, and exhibit Christ as the ordinance of God and 
the benefits of his mediation to them that believe. There is 
an especial assent to the promises of the gospel, wherein some 
place the nature and essence of justifying faith, or of faith in 


its work and duty with respect to our justification. And so 
they make the promises of the gospel to be the proper object 
of it. And it cannot be, but that in the actings of justifying 
faith there is a pecuhar assent to them. Howbeit this being 
only an act of the mind, neither the whole nature nor the 
whole work of faith can consist therein. Wherefore so far as 
the promises concur to the complete object of faith, they are 
considered materially also, namely, as they contain, propose, 
and exhibit Christ to believers. And in that sense are they 
frequently affirmed in the Scripture to be the object of our faith 
to the justification of life, Acts ii. 39; xxvi. 6. Rom. iv. 16, 20 ; 
XV. 8. Gal. iii. 16, 18. Heb. iv. 1 ; vi. 13; viii. 6 ; x. 36. 

4. The end for which the Lord Christ, in the work of his 
mediation, is the ordinance of God, and as such proposed in 
the promises of the gospel, namely, the recovery and salvation 
of lost sinners, belongs to the object of faith as justifying. 
Hence the forgiveness of sin and eternal life are proposed in 
the Scripture as things that are to be believed to justification, 
or as the object of our faith. Matt. ix. 2. Acts ii. 38, 39 ; v. 31 ; 
xxvi. 18. Rom. iii. 25 ; iv. 7, 8. Col. ii. 13. Tit. i. 2, &c. And 
whereas the just is to live by his faith, and every one is to 
believe for himself, or make an application of the things 
believed to his own behoof, some from hence have affirmed 
the pardon of our own sins, and our own salvation to be the 
proper object of faith; and indeed it does belong thereto, when 
in the way and order of God and the gospel, we can attain to 
it, 1 Cor. XV. 3, 4. Gal. ii. 20. Ephes. i. 6, 7. 

Wherefore asserting the Lord Jesus Christ in the work of 
his mediation to be the object of faith to justification, I include 
therein the grace of God which is the cause, the pardon of sin 
which is the etfect, and the promises of the gospel which are 
the means, of communicating Christ and the benefit of his 
mediation to us. 

And all these things are so united, so intermixed in their, 
mutual relations and respects, so concatenated in the purpose 
of God, and the declaration made of his will in the gospel, that 
the believing of any one of them virtually includes the belief of 
the rest. And they by whom any one of them is disbelieved, 
frustrate and make void all the rest, and so faith itself 

The due consideration of these things solves all the difficul- 
ties that arise about the nature of faith, either from the Scrip- 
ture, or from the experience of them that believe, with respect 
to its object. JNIany things in the Scripture are we said to 


believe with it and by it, and that to justification. Bat two 
things are hence evident. (1) That no one of them can be 
asserted to be the complete adequate object of our faith. 
(2) That none of them are so absolutely, but as they relate to 
the Lord Christ, as the ordinance of God for our justification 
and salvation. 

And this answers the experience of all that truly believe. 
For these things being united and made inseparable in the 
constitution of God, all of them are virtually included in every 
one of them. (1) Some fix their faith and trust principally 
on the grace, love, and mercy of God; especially they did 
so under the Old Testament before the clear revelation of 
Christ and his mediation. So did the Psalmist, Psal. cxxx. 34; 
xxxiii. 18, 19. And the publican, Luke xviii. 13. And these 
are in places of the Scripture innumerable proposed as the 
causes of our justification. See Rom. iii. 24 ; Ephes. ii. 4 — 8. 
Tit. iii. 5 — 7. But this they do not absolutely, but with re- 
spect to the redemption that is in the blood of Christ ; Dan. 
ix. 17. Nor does the Scripture any where propose them to 
us, but under that consideration. See Rom. iii, 24, 25. Ephes. 
i. 6 — 8. For this is the cause, way, and means of the com- 
munication of that grace, love, and mercy to us. (2) Some 
place and fix them principally on the Lord Christ, his media- 
tion and the benefits thereof. This the Apostle Paul proposes 
frequently to us in his own example. See Gal. ii. 20 ; Phil, 
iii. 8 — 10. But this they do not absolutely, but with respect 
to the grace and love of God, whence it is that they are given 
and communicated to us, Rom. viii. 32 ; John iii. 16 ; Ephes. 
i. 6 — 8. Nor are they otherwise any where proposed to us in 
the Scripture as the object of our faith to justification. (3) Some 
in a peculiar manner fix their souls in believing on the promises. 
And this is exemplied in the instance of Abraham, Gen. xv. 
16 ; Rom. iv. 20. And so are they proposed in the Scripture 
as the object of our faith, Acts ii. 39; Rom. iv. 16; Heb. iv. 
1, 2; vi. 12, 13. But this they do not merely as they are 
divine revelations, but as they contain and propose to us the 
Lord Christ and the benefits of his mediation, from the grace, 
love, and mercy of God. Hence the apostle disputes at large 
in his Epistle to the Galatians, that if justification be any way 
but by the promise, both the grace of God and the death of 
Christ are evacuated and made of none effect. And the reason 
is, because the promise is nothing but the way and means of 
the communication of them to us. (4) Some fix their faith on 


the things themselves which they aim at; namely, the pardon 
of sin and eternal life. And these also in the Scripture are 
proposed to us as the object of our faith, or that which we 
are to believe to justification, Psa. cxxx. 4 ; Acts xxvi. 18 ; 
Tit. i. 2. But this is to be done in its proper order, especially 
as to the application of them to our own souls. For we are 
no where required to believe them, or our own interest in 
them, but as they are effects of grace, and love of God, through 
Christ and his mediation proposed in the promises of the gospel. 
Wherefore the belief of them is included in the belief of these, 
and is in order of nature antecedent thereto. And the belief 
of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, without the due 
exercise of faith in those causes of them, is but presumption. 

I have therefore given the entire object of faith as justifying, 
or in its work and duty with respect to our justification, in 
compliance with the testimonies of the Scripture and the ex- 
perience of them that believe. 

Allowing therefore their proper place to the promises, and 
to the effect of all in the pardon of sins and eternal life ; that 
which I shall further confirm is, that the Lord Christ in the 
work of his mediation, as the ordinance of God for the reco- 
very and salvation of lost sinners, is the proper adequate ob- 
ject of justifying faith. And the true nature of evangelical 
faith consists in the respect of the heart (which we shall im- 
mediately describe) to the love, grace, and wisdom of God, 
with the mediation of Christ, in his obedience, with the sacri- 
fice, satisfaction, and atonement for sin which he made by his 
blood. These things are impiously opposed by some as h)con- 
sistent. For the second head of the Socinian impiety is, that 
the grace of God, and satisfaction of Christ are opposite and 
inconsistent, so that if we allow of the one we must deny the 
other. But as those things are so proposed in the Scripture, 
that without granting them both, neither can be believed; so 
faith which respects them as subordinate, namely, the media- 
tion of Christ to the grace of God, that fixes itself on the Lord 
Christ and that redemption which is in his blood, as the ordi- 
nance of God, the effect of his wisdom, grace and love, finds 
rest in both, and in nothing else. 

For the proof of the assertion I need not labour in it; it 
being not only abundantly declared in the Scripture, but that 
which contains in it a principal part of the design and substance 
of the gospel. I shall therefore only refer to some of the places 
wherein it is taught, or the testimonies that are given to it. 


The whole is expressed in that place of the apostle wherein 
the doctrine of justificatix)n is most eminently proposed to us. 
Rom. iii. 24, 25: "Being justified freely by his grace through 
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set 
forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood; to declare 
his righteousness for the remission of sins." Whereto we may 
add, Ephes. i. 6, 7. " He hath made us accepted in the beloved, 
in whom we have redemption through his blood, according to 
the riches of his grace." That whereby we are justified is the 
especial object of our faith to justification. But this is the 
Lord Christ in the work of his mediation. For we are justified 
by the redemption that is in Jesus Christ ; for in him we have 
redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sin. 
Christ as a propitiation is the cause of our justification, and 
the object of our faith, or we attain it by faith in his blood. 
But this is so under this formal consideration, as he is the 
ordinance of God for that end appointed, given, proposed, set 
forth from and by the grace, wisdom, and love of God. God 
set him forth to be a propitiation. He makes us accepted in 
the beloved. We have redemption in his blood, according to 
the riches of his grace, whereby he makes us accepted in the 
beloved. And herein he abounds towards us in all wisdom; 
Ephes. i. 8. This therefore is that which the gospel proposes 
to us, as the especial object of our faith to the justification 
of life. 

But we may also in the same manner confirm the several 
parts of the assertion distinctly. 

1. The Lord Jesus Christ as proposed in the promise of the 
gospel, is the peculiar object of faith to justification. There 
are three sorts of testimonies whereby this is confirmed. 

1. Those wherein it is positively asserted; as Acts x. 41. 
" To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name, 
whosoever believeth in him shall receive the remission of sins." 
Christ believed in as the means and cause of the remission of 
sins, is that which all the prophets give witness to. Acts xvi. 31. 
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." 
It is the answer of the apostles to the jailor's inquiry ; " Sirs, 
what must I do to be saved?" His duty in believing, and 
the object of it, "the Lord Jesus Christ," is what they return 
thereto. Acts iv 12. "Neither is there salvation in any other; 
for there is none other name under heaven given among men 
whereby we must be saved." That which is proposed to us 
as the only way and means of our justification and salvation, 


and that in opposition to all other ways, is the object of faith 
to our justification ; but this is Christ alone, exclusively to all 
other things. This is testified to by Moses and the prophets, 
the design of the whole Scripture behig to direct the faith of 
the church to the Lord Christ alone, for life and salvation. 
Luke xxiv. 25 — 27. 

2. All those wherein justifying faith is affirmed to be our 
believing in him, or believing on his name, which are multi- 
plied. John i. 12. " He gave power to them to become the sons 
of God, who believed on his name." iii. 16. " That whoso- 
ever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting 
life." ver. 36. " He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting 
life." vi. 29. " This is the work of God that ye believe on him 
whom he hath sent." ver. 47. " He that believeth on me 
hath everlasting life." vii. 38. " He that beheveth on me, out 
of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." So, ix. 35 — 
37; xi. 25; Acts xxvi. 18. "That they may receive forgive- 
ness of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified, 
by faith that is in me," 1 Pet. ii. 6, 7. In all which places, 
and many other, we are not only directed to place and fix 
our faith on him, but the effect of justification is ascribed thereto. 
So expressly. Acts xiii. 38, 39, which is what we design to 

3. Those which give us such a description of the acts of 
faith, as make him the direct and proper object of it. Such 
are they wherein it is called a " receiving of him." John i. 12. 
" To as many as received him." Col. ii. 6. " As you have 
received Christ Jesus the Lord." That which we receive by 
faith is the proper object of it. And it is represented by tlieir 
looking to the brazen serpent when it was lifted up, who were 
stung by fiery serpents, John iii, 14, 15; xii. 32. Faith is that 
act of the soul whereby convinced sinners, ready otherwise to 
perish, look to Christ as he was made a propitiation for their 
sins ; and they who so do shall not perish but have everlasting 
life. He is therefore the object of our faith. 

2. He is so as he is the ordinance of God to this end which 
consideration is not to be separated from our faith in him. And 
this also is confirmed by several sorts of testimonies. 

1. All those wherein the love and grace of God are proposed 
as the only cause of giving Jesus Christ to be the way and 
means of our recovery and salvation, whence they become, or 
God in them, the supreme efficient cause of our justification. 
John iii. 16. " God so loved the world that he gave his only 


begotten Son, that whosoever beheveth on him should not 
perish, but have everlasting lite." So Rom. v. 8 ; 1 John iv. 9, 
10, " Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemp- 
tion that is in Christ." Rom. iii. 23; Ephes, i. 6 — 8. This the 
Lord Christ directs our faith to continually, referring all to him 
that sent him, and whose will he came to do. Heb. x. 5. 

2. All those wherein God is said to set forth and propose 
Christ, and to make him be for us, and to us, what he is so, to 
the justification of life. Rom. iii. 25. "Whom God hath pro- 
posed to be a propitiation." 1 Cor. i. 30. " Who of God is 
made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification 
and redemption." 2 Cor. v. 21. " He hath made him to be sin 
for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the right- 
eousness of God in him." Acts v. 35, &c. Wherefore in the 
acting of faith in Christ to justification, we can no otherwise 
consider him but as the ordinance of God to that end: he brings 
nothing to us, does nothing for us, but what God appointed, 
designed, and made him to be. And this must diligently be 
considered, that by our regard by faith to the blood, the sacri- 
fice, the satisfaction of Christ, we take off nothing from the free 
grace, favour and love of God. 

3. All those wherein the wisdom of God, in the contrivance 
of this way of justification and salvation is proposed to us : 
Ephes. i. 7, 8. " In whom we have redemption through his 
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his 
grace, wherein he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom 
and understanding." See Ephes. iii. 10, 11; 1 Cor. i. 24. 

The whole is comprised in that of the Apostle ; " God was 
in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing 
their trespasses unto them," 2 Cor. v. 19. All that is done in 
our reconciliation to God, as to the pardon of our sins, and 
acceptance with him to life, was by the presence of God in 
his grace, wisdom, and power in Christ, designing and effecting 
of it. 

Wherefore the Lord Christ proposed iu the promise of the 
gospel as the object of our faith to the justification of life, is 
considered as the ordinance of God to that end. Hence the 
love, the grace, and the wisdom of God in the sending and 
giving of him, are comprised in that object ; and not only the 
actings of God in Christ towards us, but all his actings towards 
the person of Christ himself to the same end belong thereto. 
So as to his death; God set him forth to be a propitiation ; 
Rom. iii. 24. He spared him not but delivered him up for 


US all, Rom. viii. 32. And therein laid all our sins upon him, 
Isa. liii. 6. So he was raised for our justification, Rom. iv. 25. 
And our faith is in God who raised him from the dead, Rom. 
X. 9, and in his exaltation, Acts v. 31. Which things complete 
the record that God hath given of his Son, 1 John v. 10 — 12. 

Tlie whole is confirmed by the exercise of faith in prayer, 
which is the soul's appUcation of itself to God for the partici- 
pation of tlie benefits of the mediation of Christ. And it is 
called our access through him to the Father; Eph. ii. 18. Our 
coming through him to the throne of grace, that we may obtain 
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need, Heb. iv. 15, 16, 
and through him, as both a high priest and sacrifice, Heb. x. 
19 — 21. So do we bow our knees to the Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, Ephes. iii. 14. This answers the experience of 
all who know what it is to pray. We come therein in the 
name of Christ, by him, through his mediation, to God even the 
Father, to be through his grace, love and mercy, made par- 
takers of what he has designed and promised to communicate 
to poor sinners by him. And this represents the complete ob- 
ject of our faith. 

The due consideration of these things will reconcile and 
reduce into perfect harmony, whatever is spoken in the 
Scripture concerning the object of justifying faith, or what we 
are said to believe therewith. For whereas this is affirmed 
of sundry things distinctly, none of them can be supposed to 
be the entire adequate object of faith. But consider them all 
in their relation to Christ, and they have all of them their 
proper place therein; namely, the grace of God, which is the 
cause ; the pardon of sin, which is the effect ; and the promises 
of the gospel, which are the means of conmiunicating the Lord 
Christ and the benefits of his mediation to us. 



That which we shall now inquire into, is the nature of justi- 
fying faith ; or of faith in that act and exercise of it whereby 
we are justified, or whereon justification according to God's 


ordination and promise ensues. And the reader is desired to 
take along with liim a supposition of those things which we 
have ah-eady ascribed to it, as it is sincere faith in general; as 
also of what is required previously thereto, as to its especial 
nature, work and duty in our justification. For we deny that 
ordhiarily and according to the method of God's proceeding 
with us declared in the Scripture, wherein the rule of our duty 
is prescribed, any one does, or can truly believe with faith 
to justification, in whom the work of conviction before de- 
scribed, has not been wrought. All descriptions or definitions 
of faith that have not a respect thereto, are but vain specula- 
tions. And hence some give us such definitions of faith, as it 
is hard to conceive, that they ever asked of themselves, what 
they do, in their believing on Jesus Christ for life and salva- 

The nature of justifying faith with respect to that exercise 
of it whereby we are justified, consists in the heart's approba- 
tion of the way of justification and salvation of sinners by Jesus 
Christ proposed in the gospel, as proceeding from the grace, 
wisdom and love of God, with its acquiescence therein, as to 
its own concernment and condition. 

There needs no more for the explanation of this declaration 
of the nature of faith, than what we have before proved con- 
cerning its object; and what may seem wanting thereto, will 
be fully supplied in the ensuing confirmation of it. The 
Lord Christ and his mediation, as the ordinance of God for 
the recovery, life and salvation of sinners, is supposed as the 
object of this faith. And they are all considered as an effect 
of the wisdom, grace, authority, and love of God, with all their 
actings in and towards the Lord Christ himself, in his suscep- 
tion and discharge of his office. Hereto he constantly refers 
all that he did and suffered, with all the benefits redounding 
to the church thereby. Hence, as we observed before, some- 
times the grace, or love, or especial mercy of God, sometimes 
his actings in or towards the Lord Christ himself, in sending 
him, giving him up to death, and raising him from the dead, 
are proposed as the object of our faith to justification. But 
they are so always with respect to his obedience and the atone- 
ment that he made for sin. Neither are they so altogether 
absolutely considered, but as proposed in the promises of the 
gospel. Hence a sincere assent to the divine veracity in those 
promises, is included in this approbation. 

What belongs to the confirmation of this description of faith 


shall be reduced to these four heads. (1) The declaration of 
its contrary, or the nature of privative unbelief upon the pro- 
posal of the gospel. For these things mutually illustrate one 
another. (2) The declaration of the design and end of God in 
and by the gospel. (3) The nature of faith's compliance with 
that design, or its actings with respect thereto. (4) The order, 
method, and way of believing as declared in the Scripture. 

1. The gospel is the revelation or declaration of that way 
of justification and salvation for sinners by Jesus Christ, 
which God in infinite wisdom, love and grace, has prepared. 
And upon a, supposition of the reception thereof, it is accom- 
panied with precepts of obedience, and promises of rewards. 
Therein "the righteousness of God," that which he requires, 
accepts and approves to salvation, "is revealed from faith unto 
faith," Rom. i. 17. This is the record of God therein "that 
he hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son," 
1 John V. 10. So John iii. 14 — 17. The words of this life, 
Acts V. 20. All the counsel of God, Acts xx. 27. Wherefore 
in the dispensation or preaching of the gospel, this way of 
salvation is proposed to sinners, as the great effect of divine 
wisdom and grace. Unbelief is the rejection, neglect, non ad- 
mission, or disapprobation of it, on the terms whereon, and for 
the ends for which it is so proposed. The unbelief of the 
Pharisees upon the preparatory preaching of John the Baptist is 
called the "rejecting of the counsel of God against themselves," 
that is, to their own ruin, Luke vii. 30. " They would none of 
my counsel," is an expression to the same piupose, Prov. i. 30. 
So is the "neglecting of this great salvation," Heb. ii. 3, the 
not giving it that admission which the excellency of it requires. 
A disallowing of Christ ; the Stone ov MiSoxLuai^av ot dixoSofxowtti, 
1 Pet. ii. 7, "which the builders disapproved of," as not meet 
for that place and work whereto it was designed. Acts iv. 14. 
This is unbelief. To disapprove of Christ and the way of 
salvation by him, as not answering divine wisdom nor suited 
to the end designed. So is it described by the refusing or not 
receiving of him; — all to the same purpose. 

What is intended will be more evident, if we consider the 
proposal of the gospel where it issued in unbelief, in the first 
preaching of it, and where it continues still so to do. 

1. Most of those who rejected the gospel by their unbehef, 
did it under this notion, that the way of salvation and blessed- 
ness proposed therein, was not a way answering divine good- 
ness and power, such as th^y might safely confide in and trust 


to. This the apostle declares at large, 1 Cor. i; so he expresses 
it, ver. 23, 24. "We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a 
stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness. But unto 
them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power 
of God, and the wisdom of God." That which they declared 
to them in the preaching of the gospel was, that " Christ died 
for our sins according to the Scripture," chap. xv. 3. Herein 
they proposed him as the ordinance of God, as the great effect 
of his wisdom and power for the salvation of sinners. But as 
to those who continued in their unbelief, the rejected it as any 
such way, esteeming it both weakness and folly. And there- 
fore he describes the faith of them that are called, by their 
approbation of the wisdom and power of God herein. The 
want of a comprehension of the glory of God in this way of 
salvation, and rejecting it thereon, is that unbelief which ruins 
the souls of men, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. 

So is it with all that continue unbelievers under the proposal 
of the object of faith in the preaching of the gospel. They may 
give an assent to the truth of it, so far as it is a mere act of the 
mind; at least they find not themselves concerned to reject it. 
Yea, they may assent to it with that temporary faith which we 
described before, and perform many duties of religion thereon. 
Yet they manifest that they are not sincere believers, that they 
do not " believe with the heart unto righteousness," by many 
things that are irreconcilable to, and inconsistent with justify- 
ing faith. The inquiry therefore is, wherein the unbelief of 
such persons, on account of which they perish, consists, and 
what is the formal nature of it. It is not as was said, in the 
want of an assent to the truths of the doctrine of the gospel ; 
for from such an assent are they said in many places of the 
Scripture to believe, as has been proved. And this assent may 
be so fij-m, and by various means so rooted in their minds, that 
in testimony to it they may give their bodies to be burned ; as 
men also may do in the confirmation of a false persuasion. 
Nor is it the want of an especial fiduciary application of the 
promises of the gospel to themselves, and the belief of the 
pardon of their own sins in particular. For this is not proposed 
to them in the first preaching of the gospel, as that which they 
are first to believe ; and there may be a believing unto right- 
eousness where this is not attained, Isa. 1. 10. This will evi- 
dence faith not to be true, but it is not formal unbelief. Nor 
is it the want of obedience to the precepts of the gospel in 
duties of holiness and righteousness. For these commands as 


formally given in and by the gospel, belong only to them that 
truly believe, and are justified thereon. That therefore which 
is required to evangelical faith, wherein the nature of it consists, 
as it is the foundation of all future obedience, is the heart's ap- 
probation of the way of life and sahmtion by Jesus Christ, 
proposed to it as the effect of the infinite wisdom, love, grace, 
and goodness of God ; and as that which is suited to all the 
wants and whole design of guilty convinced sinners. This 
such persons have not, and in the want thereof consists the 
formal nature of unbelief For without this, no man is, or can 
be influenced by the gospel to a relinquishment of sin, or en- 
couraged to obedience, whatever they may do on other grounds 
and motives that are foreign to the grace of it. And wherever 
this cordial sincere approbation of the way of salvation by 
Jesus Christ proposed in the gospel prevails, it will infallibly 
produce both repentance and obedience. 

If the mind and heart of a convinced sinner (for of such alone 
we treat) be able spiritually to discern the wisdom, love, and 
grace of God in this way of salvation, and be under the power 
of that persuasion, he has the ground of repentance and obe- 
dience which is given b^ the gospel. The receiving of Christ 
mentioned in the Scripture, and Avhereby the nature of faith 
in its exercise is expressed, I refer to the latter part of the 
description given concerning the soul's acquiescence in God, 
by the way proposed. 

Again, some there were at first, and such still continue to 
be, who rejected not this w ay absolutely, and in the notion of 
it, but comparatively, as reduced to practice, and so perished in 
their unbelief. They judged the way of their own righteous- 
ness to be better, as that which might be more safely trusted 
to, as more according to the mind of God and to his glory. So 
did the Jews generally, the frame of whose minds the apostle 
represents, Rom. x. 3, 4. And many of them assented to the 
doctrine of the gospel in general as true, howbeit they liked it 
not in their hearts as the best way of justification and salva- 
tion, but sought for them by the works of the law. 

Wherefore unbelief in its formal nature consists in the want 
of a spiritual discerning, and approbation of the way of salva- 
tion by Jesus Christ, as an effect of the infinite wisdom, good- 
ness and love of God. For where these are, the soul of a 
convinced sinner cannot but embrace it, and adhere to it. 
Hence also all acquiescence in this way, and trust and con- 
fidence in committing the soul to it, or to God in it, and by it, 



without which whatever is pretended of behaving, is but a 
siiadow of faith, is impossible to such persons. For tliey want 
the foundation whereon alone they can be built. And the con- 
sideration of this sufficiently manifests wlierein the nature of 
true evangelical faith consists. 

2. The design of God in and by the gospel, with the work 
and office of faith with respect thereto, further confirms the 
description given of it. That which God designs herein in the 
first place, is not the justification and salvation of sinners. His 
utmost complete end in all his counsels is his own glory; he 
does "all things for himself," nor can he who is infinite do 
otherwise. But in an especial manner he expresses this con- 
cerning this way of salvation by Jesus Christ. 

Particularly, He designed herein the glory of his righteous- 
ness. "To declare his righteousness;" Rom. iii. 25. Of his 
love; "God so loved the world," Jolm iii. 16. "Herein we 
perceive the love of God that he laid down his hfe for us," I 
John iii. 16. Of his grace; "accepted to the praise of the 
glory of his grace," Ephes. i. 5, 6. Of his wisdom; "Christ 
crucified, the wisdom of God," 1 Cor. i. 24, "might be known 
by the church the manifold wisdom of God," Ephes. iii. 10. 
Of his power; "it is the power of God unto salvation," Rom. 
i. 16. Of his faithfulness, Rom. iv. 16. For God designed 
herein, not only the reparation of all that glory, whose declara- 
tion was impeached and obscured by the entrance of sin, but 
also a further exaltation and more eminent manifestation of 
it, as to the degrees of its exaltation, and some especial instances 
before concealed, Ephes. iii. 9. And aU this is called "the 
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," whereof faith is the 
beholding, 2 Cor. iv. 6. 

3. This being the principal design of God in the way of 
justification and salvation by Christ proposed in the gospel, 
that which on our part is required to a participation of the 
benefits of it, is the ascription of that glory to God which he 
designs so to exalt. The acknowledgment of all these glo- 
rious properties of the divine nature, as manifested in the pro- 
vision and proposition of this way of life, righteousness and 
salvation, with an approbation of the way itself as an effect of 
them, and that which is safely to be trusted to, is that which is 
required of us; and this is faith or believing. "Being strong 
in faith he gave glory to God," Rom. iv. 22. And this is in 
the nature of the weakest degree of sincere faith. And no 
other grace, work or duty, is suited to this, or firstly and directly 


of that tendency, but only consequentially and in the way of 
gratitude. And although I cannot wholly assent to him who 
affirms that faith, in the Epistles of Paul, is nothing but, " aii 
exalted sentiment of the power, justice, goodness, and covenant- 
faithfulness of God," existimatio magnijice sentiens de Dei 
potentia, justitia, bo?iitate, et si quid promiserit in eo prce- 
stando constantia; because it is too general and not limited 
to the way of salvation by Christ, his "Elect in whom he will 
be glorified," yet has it much of the nature of faith in it. 
Wherefore I say, that hence we may both learn the nature of 
faitli, and whence it is that faith alone is required to our justi- 
fication. The reason of it is, because this alone is that grace 
or duty whereby we do or can give to God that glory which he 
designs to manifest and exalt in and by Jesus Christ. Faith in 
the sense we inquire after, is the heart's approbation of, and 
consent to the way of life and salvation of sinners by Jesus 
Christ, as that, wherein the glory of the righteousness, wisdom, 
grace, love, and mercy of God is exalted, the praise whereof 
it ascribes to him, and rests in it, as to the ends of it, namely, 
justification, life and salvation. It is to give "glory to God." 
Rom. iv. 20, to " behold his glory as in a glass," or the gospel 
wherein it is represented to us, 2 Cor. iii. IS ; to have in our 
hearts the " light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the 
face of Jesus Christ." 2 Cor. iv. 6. The contrary makes God 
a liar, and thereby despoils him of the glory of all those holy 
properties which he this way designed to manifest, 1 John v. 1 0. 

And if I mistake not, this is that to which the experience of 
them that truly believe, when they are out of the heats of dis- 
putation, will give testimony. 

4. To understand the nature of justifying faith aright, or the 
act and exercise of saving faith in order to our justification, 
which are properly inquired after, we must consider the order 
of it, first the things which are necessarily previous to it, and 
then what it is to believe with respect to them. As, 

1. The state of a convinced sinner; who is the only proper 
subject of justification. This has been spoken to already; 
and the necessity of its precedency to the orderly proposal and 
receiving of evangelical righteousness for justification, demon- 
strated. If we lose a respect to this, we lose our best guide 
towards the discovery of the nature of faith. Let no man 
think to understand the gospel, who knows nothing of the law. 
God's constitution and the nature of the things themselves, 
have given the law the precedency with respect to sinners ; 


for " by the law is the knowledge of sin." And gospel faith 
is the soai's acting according to the mind of God for deliver- 
ance from that state and condition which it is cast under by 
the law. And all those descriptions of faith which abound 
in the writings of learned men, which do not at least include 
in them a virtual respect to this state and condition, or the 
work of the law on the consciences of sinners, are all of them 
vain speculations. There is nothing in this whole doctrine 
that I will more firmly adhere to, than the necessity of the 
convictions mentioned previous to true believing, without 
which not one line of it can be understood aright, and men do 
but beat the air in their contentions about it. See Rom. iii. 

2. We suppose herein a sincere assent to all divine revela- 
tions, whereof the promises of grace and mercy by Christ are 
an especial part. This Paul supposed in Agrippa when he 
would have won him over to faith in Christ Jesus. " King 
Agrippa, believest thou the prophets ? I know that thou be- 
lievest." Acts xxvi. 27. And this assent which respects the 
promises of the gospel, not as they contain, propose, and ex- 
hibit the Lord Christ and the benefits of his mediation to us, 
but as divine revelations of infallible truth, is true and sincere 
in its kind, as we described it before under the notion of tem- 
porary faith. But as it proceeds no further, as it includes no 
act of the will or heart, it is not that fahh whereby we are 
justified. However it is required thereto, and is included 

3. The proposal of the gospel according to the mind of God 
is hereunto supposed : that is, that it be preached according 
to God's appointment. For not only the gospel itself, but the 
dispensation or preaching of it in the ministry of the church is 
ordinarily required to believing. This the Apostle asserts, and 
proves the necessity of it at large. Rom. x. 11 — 17. Herein 
the Lord Christ and his mediation with God, the only way 
and means for the justification and salvation of lost convinced 
sinners, as the product and eff'ect of divine wisdom, love, grace 
and righteousness, is revealed, declared, proposed, and offered 
to such sinners. For therein is " the righteousness of God re- 
vealed from faith to faith." Rom. i. 17. The glory of God is 
represented as "in a glass." 2 Cor. iii. 18, and fife and immor- 
tality are brought to light through the gospel." 2 Tim. i. 10; 
Heb. ii. 3. Wherefore, 

4. The persons who are required to believe, and whose im- 


meaiate duty it is so to do, are those who really in tlieir own 
f'.oiisciences are brought to make the inquiries mentioned in the 
Scripture; what shall we do? What shall we do to be saved? 
How shall we fly from the wrath to come ? Wherewithal 
tihall we appear before God ? How shall we answer what is 
•aid to our charge ? Or such as being sensible of the guilt of 
sin, seek for a righteousness in the sight of God, Acts ii. 38 ; 
xvi. 30, 31 ; Micah vi, 6, 7 ; Isa. xxxv. 4; Heb. vi. 18. 

On these suppositions the command and direction given to 
men being " believe and you shall be saved," the inquiry is, 
what is that act or work of faith, whereby they may obtain a 
real interest or propriety in the promises of the gospel, and the 
things declared in them to their justification before God? 

And 1. It is evident from what has been discoursed, that it 
loes not consist in, that it is not to be fully expressed by, any 
one single habit or act of the mind or will distinctly whatever. 
For there are such descriptions given of it in the Scripture, 
such things are proposed as the object of it, and such is the 
experience of all that sincerely believe, as no one single act 
either of the mind or will, can answer to. Nor can an exact 
method of those acts of the soul which are concurrent therein 
be prescribed. Only what is essential to it is manifest. 

2. That which in order of nature seems to have the prece- 
lency is the assent of the mind to that which the Psalmist 
oetakes himself to in the first place, for relief, under a sense of 
sin and trouble. Psa. cxxx. 3, 4. " If thou. Lord, shouldst 
mark iniquity, Lord, who shall stand?" The sentence of 
the law and judgment of conscience lie against him as to any 
acceptation with God. Therefore he despairs in himself, of 
standing in judgment, or being acquitted before him. In this 
state that which the soul first fixes on as to its relief, is that 
there is forgiveness with God. This as declared in the gospel, 
is, that God in his love and grace will pardon and justify guilty 
sinners through the blood and mediation of Christ. So it is 
proposed, Rom. iii. 23, 24. The assent of the mind hereto as 
proposed in the promise of the gospel, is the root of faith, the 
foundation of all that the soul does in believing. Nor is thero 
any evangelical faith without it. But yet consider it abstract- 
edly as a mere act of the mind, the essence and nature of jus- 
tifying faith does not consist solely therein, though it cannot 
be without it. But, 

3. This is accompanied in sincere believing with an appro- 
bation of the way of deliverance and salvation proposed, as an 



effect of divine grace, wisdom and love, whereon the heart 
rests in it, and applies itself to it according to the mind of God. 
This is that faith whereby we are justified ; which I shall fur- 
ther evince by showing what is included in it, and inseparable 
from it. 

1. It includes in it a sincere renunciation of all other ways 
and means for the attaining of righteousness, life and salvation. 
This is essential to faith, Acts iv. 12; Hos. xiv. 2, 3; Jerem. 
iii. 23; Psa. Ixxi. 16. <' I will make mention of thy right- 
eousness, of thine only." When a person is in the condition 
before described, (and such alone are called immediately to 
believe, Matt. ix. 13 ; xi. 28 ; 1 Tim. i. 15 ;) many things will 
present themselves to him for his relief; particularly his own 
righteousness, Rom. x. 3. A renunciation of them all as to 
any hope or expectation of relief from them, belongs to sincere 
believing, Isa. 1. 10, 11. 

2. There is in it the will's consent, whereby the soul betakes 
itself cordially and sincerely, as to all its expectation of pardon 
of sin and righteousness before God, to the way of salvation 
proposed in the gospel. This is that which is called coming to 
Christ, and receiving of him, whereby true justifying faith is so 
often expressed in the Scripture ; or as it is peculiarly called 
believing in him, or believing on his name. The whole is ex- 
pressed, John xiv. 6. '• Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the 
truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." 

3. An acquiescence jof the heart in God, as the author and 
principal cause of the way of salvation prepared ; as acting in 
a way of sovereign grace and mercy towards sinners, " who 
by him do believe in God who raised him up from the dead, 
and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God," 
1 Pet. i. 21. The heart of a sinner herein gives to God the 
glory of all those holy properties of his nature which he de- 
signed to manifest in and by Jesus Christ. See Isa. xlii. 1 ; 
xlix. 3. And this acquiescence of the heart in God, is 
that which is the immediate root of that waiting, patience, 
long-suffering and hope, which are the proper acts and effects 
of justifying faith, Heb. vi. 12, 15, 18, 19. 

4. Trust in God, or the grace and mercy of God in and 
through the Lord Christ as set forth to be a propitiation 
through faith in his blood, belongs hereto, or necessarily ensues 
hereon. For the person called to believing, is (1) conivnced of 
sin, and exposed to wrath. (2) Has nothing else to trust to for 
help and relief (3) Actually renounces all other things that 


tender themselves to that end ; and therefore without some act 
of trust the soul must he under actual despair, Avhich is 
utterly inconsistent with faith, or the choice and approbation 
of the way of salvation before described. 5. The most fre- 
quent declaration of the nature of faith in the Scripture, espe- 
cially in the Old Testament, is by this trust, and that because 
it is that act of it which composes the soul, and brings it to ail 
the rest it can attain. For all our rest in this world is from 
trust in God. And the especial object of this trust, so far as 
it belongs to the nature of that faith whereby we are justified, 
is God in Christ reconciling the world to himself. For this is 
respected where his goodness, his mercy, his grace, his name, 
his faithfulness, his power, are expressed, or any of them, as 
that which it immediately relies upon. For they are no way 
the object of our trust, nor can be, but on the account of the 
covenant which is confirmed and ratified in and by the blood 
of Christ alone. 

Whether this trust or confidence shall be esteemed of the 
essence of faith, or as that which, on the first fruit and working 
of it, we are found exercising, we need not positively deter- 
mine. I place it therefore as that which belongs to justifying 
faith, and is inseparable from it. For if all we have spoken 
before concerning faith may be comprised under the notion of 
a firm assent and persuasion, yet it cannot be so, if any such 
assent be conceivable exclusive of this trust. 

This trust is that whereof many divines make special mercy 
to be the peculiar object; and that especial mercy to be such 
as to include in it the pardon of our own sins. This by their 
adversaries is fiercely opposed, and that on such grounds as 
manifest that they do not believe that there is any such state 
attainable in this life ; and that if there were, it would not be 
of any use to us, but rather be a means of security and negli- 
gence in our duty ; wherein they betray how great is the ignor- 
ance of these things in their own minds. But mercy may be 
said to be especial two ways. (1) In itself, and in opposition 
to common mercy. (2) With respect to him that believes. In 
the first sense especial mercy is the object of faith as justifying. 
For no more is intended by it, but the grace of God setting 
forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, 
Rom. iii. 23, 24. And faith in this especial mercy, is that 
which the apostle calls our "receiving of the atonement," 
Rom. V. 11. That is our approbation of it, and adherence to 
it, as the great effect of Divine wisdom, goodness, faithfulness, 


love and gi'ace, which will therefore never fail them who put 
their trust in it. In the latter sense it is looked on as the par- 
don of our own sins in particular, the especial mercy of God to 
our souls. That this is the object of justifying faith, that a 
man is bound to believe this in order of nature antecedent to 
his justification I deny; nor yet do I know of any testimony or 
safe experience whereby it may be confirmed. But yet those 
who deny that an undeceiving belief hereof is to be attained 
in this life ; or that it is our duty to believe the pardon of our 
own sins, and the especial love of God in Christ, in the order 
and method of our duty and privileges limited and determined 
in the gospel, so as to come to the full assurance of them, 
(though I will not deny but that peace with God which is 
inseparable from justification may be without them) seem not 
to be much acquainted with the design of God in the gospel, 
the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ, the nature and work of 
faith or their own duty, nor the professed experience of 
believers recorded in the Scripture. See Rom. v. 1 — 5; Heb. 
X. 2, 10, 20, 21 ; Psa. xlvi. 1, 2; cxxxviii. 7, 8, &c. Yet it is 
granted that all these things are rather fruits or effects of faith, 
as under exercise and improvement, than of the essence of it, 
as it is the instrument in our justification. 

And the trust before mentioned, which is either essential to 
justifying faith, or inseparable from it, is excellently expressed 
by Bernard,* "I look at three things, on Avhich all my hope 
depends; the love which has adopted, the truth which has pro- 
mised, and the power which fulfils. Let my foolish thoughts 
murmur as they will, saying, Who then art thou? and how 
great is that glory, and with what merits hopest thou to obtain 
it ? With confidence I shall reply, ' I know in whom I have 
believed,' and am assured that in love he has adopted me ; 
that he is true to his promises; that he is powerful in fulfil- 
ment; for he may do whatever he will. This is a three-fold 
cord, which cannot easily be broken. Let us firmly hold to it, 
ivhen it is let down to us here on earth from our country 

* Tria considero in quibus tota mea spes consistit; charitatem adoptionis, 
veritatem promissionis, potestatem redditionis. Munnuret jam quantum 
yoluerit insipiens cogitatio mea, dicens Quis enim es tu, ct quanta est ilia 
gloria, quibusve meritis banc obtinere speras ? et ego fiducialiter respondebo, 
8cio cui credidi, et certus sum quia in cbaritate adoptavit me, quia verax in 
protnissione, quia potens in exbibitione ; licet enim ei facere quod voluerit. 
Hie est funiculus triplex, qui ditficulter rumpitur, quem nobis ex patria 
nostra in banc terram usque demisstim, firmiter obsecro teneamus, et ipse 
nos sublevet, ipse nos trabat et pertruhat usque ad conspectum gloriae magni 
Pei, qui est bencdictus in pecula. De Evangel. Ser. 3. 


above, until it raise us and draw us up even to the presence 
of tiie glory of the great God, who is blessed for ever !" 

Concerning this faith and trust it is earnestly pleaded by 
many, that obedience is included in it. But as to the way 
and manner thereof they variously express themselves. So- 
cinus and those who follow him absolutely, make obedience to 
be the essential form of faith, which is denied by Episcopius. 
The Papists distinguish between faith informed, and faith 
formed by charity, which comes to the same purpose. For 
both are built on this supposition, that there may be true evan- 
gelical faith, that which is required as our duty, and conse- 
quently is accepted of God, that may contain all in it which 
is comprised in the name and duty of faith, that may be with- 
ovU charity or obedience, and so be useless. For the Socinians 
do not make obedience to be the essence of faith absolutely, 
but as it justifies. And so they plead to this purpose, that 
"faith without works is dead." But to suppose that a dead 
faith, or that faith which is dead, is that faith which is required 
of us in the gospel in the way of duty, is a monstrous imagina- 
tion. Others plead for obedience, charity, the love of God, to 
be included in the nature of faith ; but plead not directly that 
this obedience is the form of faith, but that which belongs to 
the perfection of it, as it is justifying. Nor yet do they say 
that by this obedience, a continued course of works and obe- 
dience, as though that were necessary to our first justification, 
is required; but only a sincere active purpose of obedience; 
and thereon, as the manner of our days is, load them with re- 
proaches who are otherwise minded, if they knew who they 
were. For how impossible it is according to their principles 
who believe justification by faith alone, that justifying faith 
should be without a sincere purpose of heart to obey God in 
all things, I shall briefly declare. For (1) they believe that 
faith is not of ourselves, it is "the gift of God;" yea that it is 
a grace wrought in the hearts of men by the exceeding great- 
ness of his power. And to suppose such a grace dead, inac- 
tive, unfruitful, not operative to the great end of the glory of 
God, and the transforming of the souls of them that receive 
it into his image, is a reflection on the wisdom, goodness and 
love of God himself. (2) That this grace is in them a principle 
of spiritual life ; which in the habit of it as resident in the 
heart, is not really distinguished from that of all other grace 
whereby we live to God. So, that there should be faith habit- 
ually in the heart, (I mean that evangelical faith we inquire 


after,) or actually exercised, where there is not a habit of all 
other graces, is utterly impossible. Neither is it possible tiiat 
there should be any exercise of this faith to justification, but 
where the mind is prepared, disposed, and determined to uni- 
versal obedience. And therefore (3) It is denied, that any 
faith, trust, or confidence which may be imagined, so as to be 
absolutely separable from, and have its whole nature consist- 
ent with the absence of, all other graces, is that faith which is 
the especial gift of God, and which in the gospel is required of 
us in a way of duty. And whereas some have said, that " men 
may believe, and place their firm trust in Christ for life and 
salvation, and yet not be justified;" it is a position so destruc- 
tive of the gospel, and so full of scandal to all pious souls, 
and contains such an express denial of the record that God 
hath given concerning his Son Jesus Christ, that I wonder any 
person of sobriety and learning should be surprised into it. 
And whereas they plead the experience of multitudes who 
profess this firm faith and confidence in Christ, and yet are not 
justified ; it is true indeed, but nothing to their purpose. For 
whatever they profess, not only, not one of them does so in 
the sight and judgment of God, where this matter is to be tried, 
but it is no difficult matter to convict them of the folly and 
falseness of this profession, by the light and rule of the gos- 
pel, even in their own consciences if they would attend to 

Wherefore we say the faith whereby we are justified, is such 
as is not found in any but those who are made partakers of the 
Holy Ghost, and by him united to Christ, whose nature is re- 
newed, and in whom there is a principle of all grace and pur- 
pose of obedience. Only we say it is not any other grace, as 
charity and the like, nor any obedience that gives life and form 
to this faith; but it is this faith that gives life and efficacy to 
all other graces, and form to all evangelical obedience. Neither 
does any thing hence accrue to our adversaries, who would 
have all those graces which are, in their root and principle at 
least, present in all that are to be justified, to have the same 
influence upon our justification as faith has; or who say that 
we are justified by faith alone, and in explication of it, in 
answer to the reproaches of the Romanists, say we are justified 
by faith alone, but not by that faith which is alone ; — that we 
intend by faith all other graces and obedience also. For besides 
that the nature of no other grace is capable of that odice 
which is assigned to faith in our justificatiou^ nor can be as- 


sunied into a society in operation with it, namely, to receive 
Christ, and the promises of hfe by him, and to give glory to 
God on their account; so when they can give us any testimony 
of Scripture assigning our justification to any other grace, or 
all graces together, or all the fruits of them, as it is assigned to 
faith, they shall be attended to. 

And this in particular is to be affirmed of repentance, con- 
cerning which it is most vehemently urged, that it is of the 
same necessity to our justification as faith is. For this they 
say is easily proved from testimonies of Scripture innumerable, 
which call all men to repentance that will be saved ; especially, 
those two eminent places are insisted on. Actsii. 38, 39; iii. 16. 
But that which they liave to prove, is not that it is of the 
same necessity with faith to them that are to be justified, but 
that it is of the same use with faith in their jvistification. 
Baptism in that place of the Apostle, Acts ii. 38, 39, is joined 
with faith no less than repentance. And in other places it 
is expressly jfut into the same condition. Hence most of the 
ancients concluded that it was no less necessary to salvation 
than faith or repentance itself. Yet never did any of them as-^ 
sign it the same use in justification with faith. But it is plead- 
ed, whatever is a necessary condition of the new covenant, is 
also a necessary condition of justification. For otherwise a 
man might be justified, and continuing in his justified estate 
not be saved, for want of that necessary condition. For by a 
necessary condition of the new covenant they understand that 
without which a man cannot be saved. But of this nature is 
repentance as well as faith, and so it is equally a condition of 
our justification. The ambiguity of the signification of the 
word condition casts much disorder on the present inquiry, in 
the discourses of some men. But to pass it by at present, I 
say, final perseverance is a necessary condition of the new co- 
venant ; wherefore by this rule it is also, of justification. They 
say some things are conditions absolutely, such as are faith 
and repentance, and a purpose of obedieuce : some are so on 
some supposition only; namely, that a man's life be continued 
in this world; such is a course in obedience and good works, 
and perseverance to the end. Wherefore I say then, that on 
supposition that a man lives in this world, perseverance to the 
end is a necessary condition of his justification. And if so, no 
man can be justified whilst he is in this world. For a condi- 
tion suspends that whereof it is a condition from existence, 
until it be accomplished. It is then to no purpose to dispute 


any longer about justification, if indeed no man is nor can be 
justified in this life. But liow contrary this is to Scripture and 
experience is known. 

If it be said that final perseverance, which is so express a 
condition of salvation in the new covenant, is not indeed the 
condition of our first justification, but it is the condition of the 
continuation of our justification ; then they yield up their grand 
position, that whatever is a necessary condition of the new co- 
venant, is a necessary condition of justification ; for it is that 
which they call the first justijication alone which we treat 
about. And that the continuation of our justification depends 
solely on the same causes with our justification itself, shall be 
afterwards declared. But it is not yet proved, nor ever will 
be, that whatever is required in them that are to be justified, s 
a condition whereon their justification is immediately suspend- 
ed. We allow that alone to be a condition of justification 
which has an influence of causality thereto, though it be but 
the causality of an instrument. This we ascribe \o faith alone. 
And because we do so, it is pleaded that we ascribe more in 
our justification to ourselves than they do by whom we are op- 
posed. For we ascribe the efficiency of an instrument herein 
to our own faith ; when they say only that it is a condition, or 
causa sine qua non, of our justification. But I judge that 
grave and wise men ought not to give so much to the defence 
of the cause they have undertaken, seeing they cannot but 
know indeed the contrary. For after they have given the spe- 
cious name of a condition and a causa sine qua non, to faith, 
they immediately take all other graces and works of obedience 
into the same state with it, and the same use in justification ; 
and after this seeming gold has been cast for awhile into the 
fire of disputation, there comes out the calf of a personal in- 
herent righteousness, whereby men are justified before God, 
virtute faderis Evangelici ; in virtue of the Gospel covenant ; 
for as for the righteousness of Christ to be imputed to us, it is 
gone into heaven, and they know not what has become of it. 

Having given this brief declaration of the nature of justify- 
ing faith, and the acts of it, (as I suppose sufficient to my pre- 
sent design) I shall not trouble myself to give an accurate de- 
finition of it. What are my thoughts concerning it, will be 
better understood by what has been spoken, than by any pre- 
cise definition I can give. And the truth is, definitions of jus- 
tifying faith have been so multiplied by learned men, and in so 
great variety, and such a manifest inconsistency among some 


of them, that they have been of no advantage to the truth, 
but occasions of new controversies and divisions, whilst every 
one has laboured to defend the accuracy of his own definition, 
when yet it inay be difficult for a true believer to find any thing 
corresponding with his own experience in them ; which kind 
of definitions in these things, I have no esteem for. I know no 
man that has laboured in this argument about the nature of faith 
more than Doctor Jackson ; yet when he has done all, he gives 
us a definition of justifying faith, which I know few that will 
subscribe to ; yet is it in the main scope of it both pious and 
sound. For he tells us : " Here at length we may define the 
faith by which the just do live, to be a firm and constant ad- 
Iierence to the mercies and loving kindness of the Lord, or 
generally to the spiritual food exhibited in his sacred word, as 
much better than this life itself, and all the contentments it is 
capable of, grounded on a taste or relish of their sweetness, 
wrought in the soul or heart of a man by the Spirit of Christ." 
To which he adds, " The terms for the most part are the pro- 
phet David's, not metaphorical, as some may fancy, much less 
equivocal, but proper and homogeneal to the subject defined." 
Vol. i. book 4, chap. 9. For the lively Scriptural expressions 
of faith, by receiving of Christ, leaning on him, rolling our- 
selves or our burden on him, tasting how gracious the Lord 
is, and the like, which of late have been reproached, yea blas- 
phemed by many, I may have occasion to speak of them after- 
wards; as also to manifest that they convey a better under- 
standing of the nature, work, and object of justifying faith, to 
the minds of men spiritually enlightened, than the most accu- 
rate definitions that many pretend to; some wliereof are de- 
structive and exclusive of them all. 



The description before given of justifying faith sufficiently 
manifests of what use it is in justification. Nor shall I in ge- 
neral add much to what may be thence observed to that pur-. 



pose. But whereas this use of it has been expressed with 
some variety, and several ways of it asserted inconsistent with 
one another, they must be considered in our passage. And I 
siiall do it with all brevity possible ; for these things lead not 
in any part of the controversy about the nature of justifica- 
tion, but are merely subservient to other conceptions concern- 
ing it. When men have fixed their apprehensions about the 
principal matters in controversy, they express what concerns 
the use of faith in an accommodation thereto. Supposing such 
to be the nature of justification as they assert, it must be grant- 
ed that the use of faith therein, must be what they plead for. 
And if what is peculiar to any in the substance of the doctrine 
be disproved, they cannot deny but that their notions about the 
use of faith fall to the ground. Thus it is with all who affirm 
faith to be either the instrument, or the condition, or the causa 
sine qua non, or the preparation and disposition of the subject, 
or a meritorious cause by way of condecency or congruity, in 
and of our justification. For all these notions of the use of 
faith are suited and accommodated to the opinions of men con- 
cerning the nature and principal causes of justification. Neither 
can any trial or determination be made, as to their truth and 
propriety, but upon a previous judgment concerning those 
causes, and the whole nature of justification itself. Whereas 
therefore it were vain and endless to plead the principal matter 
in controversy upon every thing that occasionally belongs to it; 
and so, by the title to the whole inheritance, on every cottage 
that is built on the premises, I shall briefly speak to these va- 
rious conceptions about the use of faith in our justification, 
rather to find out and give an understanding of what is intend- 
ed by them, than to argue about their truth and propriety, 
which depends on that wherein the substance of the contro- 
versy consists. 

Protestant divines, until of late, have unanimously affirmed 
faith to be the instrumental cause of ourjustification. So it is 
expressed to be in many of the public confessions of their 
churches. This notion of theirs concerning the nature and 
use of faith, was from the first opposed by those of the Roman 
church. Afterwards it was denied also by the Socinians, as 
either false or improper. And of late this expression is dis- 
liked by some among ourselves; wherein they follow Episco- 
pius, Curcellaeus, and others of that way. Those who are sober 
^ and moderate rather decline this notion and expression as im- 
proper, than reject them as untrue. And our safest course in 


tliese cases is to consider what is the thing or matter intended. 
If that be agreed upon, he deserves best of the truth who parts 
with strife about propriety of expressions, before it be meddled 
with. Tenacious pleading about them will surely render our 
contentions endless; and none will ever want an appearance 
of probability to give them countenance in what they pretend. 
If our design in teaching be the same with that of the Scrip- 
ture, namely, to inform the minds of believers, and convey the 
light of the knowledge of God in Christ to them, we must be 
contented sometimes to make use of such expressions, as will 
scarce pass the ordeal of arbitrary rules and distinctions through 
the whole compass of notional and artificial sciences. And 
those who without more ado reject the instrvimentality of faith 
in our justification as an unscriptural notion, as though it were 
easy for them with one breath to blow away the reasons and 
arguments of so many learned men as have pleaded for it, may 
not, I think, do amiss to review the grounds of their confidence. 
For the question being only concerning what is intended by it, 
it is not enough that the term or word itself of an instrument 
is not found to this purpose in the Scripture. For on the same 
ground we may reject a Trinity of persons in the Divine 
essence, without an acknowledgment whereof, not one line 
of the Scripture can be rightly understood. 

Those who assert faith to be as the instrumental cause in our 
justification, do it with respect to two ends. For first they de- 
sign thereby to declare the meaning of those expressions in the 
Scripture, wherein we are said to be justified ra-rstn, absolute-' 
ly; which must denote either instnwientum, aut formam, aut 
modum actwnis. xoyt^ojusea ow m^tn StzatousOat dfepurtov ; Rom. 
iii. 28. " Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith." 
So hia rtLsteio?, vcr. 22. ex Ttistiioi : Rom. i. 17; Gal. iii. 8. Sio, -etn 

rtKJtftoj. Ephes. ii. S. ex rttarsu;, xm Sj,a trji rtujrscoj, Rom. Ul. 22, 30. 

That is Jide, ex fide, per Jidem ; which we can express only hy 
faith, or through faith. Propter fidem, or 6ia nLr^tiv^for our faith, 
we are no where said to be justified. The inquiry is, what is 
the most proper, lightsome, and convenient way of declaring 
the meaning of these expressions. This the generality of Pro- 
testants judge to be by an instrumental cause. For some kind 
of causality they plainly intimate, whereof the lowest and 
meanest is that which is instrumental. For they are used of 
faith in our justification before God, and of no other grace or 
duty whatever. Wherefore the proper work or office of faith 
in our justification is intended by them. And 6ia is no where 


used in the whole New Testament with a genitive case, (nor 
in any other good author) but it denotes an instrumental effi- 
ciency at least. In the Divine works of the holy Trinity, the 
operation of the second Person, who is in them a principal 
efficient, yet is sometimes expressed thereby, it maybe to de- 
note the order of operation in the holy Trinity answering the 
order of subsistence, though it be applied to God absolutely 
or the Father; Rom. xi. 35. hi" avrov, "by him are all things." 
Again i% i^yt^v vo^ov; and ix Hiatcui are directly opposed. Gal. iii. 
2. But when it is said that a man is "not justified, ^| jpyuv 
vopLov, by the works of the law," it is acknowledged by all 
that the meaning of the expression is to exclude all ejficiency 
in every kind of such works from our justification. It follows, 
therefore, that where in opposition hereto, we are said to be 
justified ix rtiotsuji, "by faith;" an instrumental efficiency is 
intended. Yet will I not therefore make it my controvensy 
with any, that faith is properly an instrument, or the instru- 
mental cause in or of our justification; and so divert into an 
impertinent contest about the nature and kinds of instruments 
and instrumental causes, as they are metaphysically hunted 
with a confused cry of futile terms and distinctions. But this 
I judge, that among all those notions of things which may be 
taken from common use and understanding to represent to our 
minds the meaning and intention of the Scriptural expressions 
so often used, rtt5rf^, ix ftiateuic, 6ta jiintiui;, there is none so 
proper as this of an instrument or instrumental cause, seeing 
a causality is included in them, and that of any other kind 
certainly excluded; nor has it any of its own. 

But it may be said, that if faith be the instrumental cause of 
justification, it is either the instrument of God, or the instru- 
ment of believers themselves. That it is not the instrument 
of God is plain, in that it is a duty which he prescribes to us; 
it is an act of our own ; and it is we that believe, not God ; nor 
can any act of ours be the instrument of his work. And if it 
be our instrument, seeing an efficiency is ascribed to it, then 
are we the efficient causes of our own justification in some 
sense, and may be said to justify ourselves; which is deroga- 
tory to the grace of God, and the blood of Christ. 

I confess that I lay not much weight on exceptions of this 
nature. For (1) notwithstanding what is said herein, the 
Scripture is express, that " God justifieth us by faith." " It is 
one God which shall justify the circumcision ix ^igrfuc, (by faith) 
and the uncircumcision, Sia t>j5 mattioi, through or by faith," 


Rom. iii. 30. "The Scripture foreseeing that God would 
justify the heathen through faith," Gal. iii. 8. As he purifieth 
the hearts of men by faith, Acts xv, 9. Wherefore faith in 
some sense may be said to be the instrument of God in our 
justification; both as it is the means and way ordained and 
appointed by him on our part, whereby we shall be justified, 
as also because he bestows it on us, and works it in us to this 
end that we may be justified; for "by grace we are saved, 
through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God," 
Ephes. iii. 8. If any one shall now say, that on these accounts, 
or with respect to Divine ordination and operation concurring 
to our justification, faith is the instrument of God in its place 
and way, (as the gospel also is, Rom. i. 16, and the ministers 
of it, 2 Cor. V. 18; 1 Tim. iv. 6, and the sacraments also, Rom. 
iv. 11; Tit. iii. 5, in their several places and kinds) to our jus- 
tification, it may be he will contribute to a right conception of 
the work of God herein, as much as those shall by whom it is 

But that which is principally intended is, that it is the instru- 
ment of them that believe. Neither yet are they said hereon 
to justify themselves. For whereas it neither really produces 
the effect of justification by a physical operation, nor can do 
so, it being a pure sovereign act of God; nor is morally any 
way meritorious thereof, nor disposes the subject wherein it is 
to the introduction of an inherent formal cause of justification, 
there being no such thing in rerum natura, nor has any other 
physical or moral respect to the effect of justification, but what 
arises merely from the constitution and appointment of God, 
there is no colour of reason from the instrumentality of faith 
asserted, to ascribe the effect of justification to any, but to the 
principal efficient cause, which is God alone, and from whom 
it proceeds in a way of free and sovereign grace, disposing the 
order of things, and the relation of them one to another, as 
seems good to him. Atxotovufwt hi^piav rr; avrov xo-piri, Rom. iii. 

24. 5ia trji rtKTffwj h tm tov 'x.^ii^tov aifiati, vcr. 25. It is there- 
fore the ordinance of God prescribing our duty, that we may 
be justified freely by his grace, having its use and operation 
towards that end after the manner of an instrument, as we 
shall see further immediately. Wherefore so far as I can dis- 
cern, they contribute nothing to the real understanding of 
this truth, who deny faith to be the instrumental cause of our 
justification, and on other grounds assert it to be the condition 
thereof, unless they can prove that this is a more natural ex- 



position of those expressions TUnrn., ix mnnu,^, Sta ■?>;? rttrrrfwj, 

which is the first thing to be inquired after. For all that we 
do in this matter is but to endeavour a right understanding of 
Scripture propositions and expressions, unless we hitend to 
wander extra oleas, and lose ourselves in a maze of uncertain 

Secondly, they designed to declare the use of faith in jus- 
tification, expressed in the Scripture by apprehending and re- 
ceiving of Christ, or his righteousness, and remission of sins 
thereby. The words whereby this use of faith in our justifica- 
tion is expressed are Xa^/Savw, rtapaXa.uSai'w, and xara>.a/t,3avco. And 
the constant use of them in the Scripture is to take or receice 
what is offered, tendered, given or granted to us; or to appre- 
hend and lai/ hold of any thing thereby to make it our own, 
as irti.\an3avo/xai. is also uscd in the same sense, Heb. ii. 16. So 
are we said by faith to receive Christ, John i. 12; Col. ii. 6. 
"The abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness," Rom. 
V. 17. "The word of promise," Acts ii. 41. "The word of 
God," Acts viii. 14; 1 Thess. i. 6; ii. 13. "The atonement" 
made by the blood of Christ, Rom. v. 11. "The forgiveness 
of sins," Acts x. 43; xxvi. 18, "The promise of the Spirit," 
Gal. iii. 14. "The promises," Heb. ix. 15. There is there- 
fore nothing that concurs to our justification, but we receive it 
by faith. And unbelief is expressed by 7wt receiving, John 
i. 11; iii. 11; xii. 48; xiv. 17. Wherefore the object of faith 
in our justification, that whereby we are justified, is tendered, 
granted, and given to us of God, the use of faith being to lay 
hold upon it, to receive it, so that it may be our own. What 
we receive of outward things that are so given to us, we do 
it by our hand, which is therefore the instrument of that re- 
ception, that whereby we apprehend or lay hold of any thing 
to appropriate it to ourselves ; and that because this is the pe- 
culiar office which by nature it is assigned to among all the 
members of the body. Other uses it has, and other members 
on other accomits may be as useful to the body as it ; but it 
alone is the instrument of receiving and apprehending that 
which being given, is to be made our own and to abide with us 
Whereas therefore the righteousness wherewith we are justi 
fied is the gift of God, which is tendered to us in the promise 
of the gospel, the use and office of faith being to receive, ap 
prebend, or lay hold of and appropriate this righteousness, 1 
know not how it can be better expressed than by an instru- 
ment, nor by what notion of it, more light of understanding 


may be conveyed to our minds. Some may suppose other no- 
tions are meet to express it by on other accounts; and it may 
be so with respect to other uses of it. But the sole present 
inquiry is, how it shall be declared, as that which receives 
Christ, the atonement, the gift of righteousness, which will 
prove its only use in our justification. He that can better 
express this than by an instrumerjt, ordained of God to this 
end, all whose use depends on that ordination of God, will de- 
serve well of the truth. It is true that all those who place the 
formal cause or reason of our justification in ourselves, or our 
inherent righteousness, and so either directly or by just con- 
sequence deny all imputation of the righteousness of Christ to 
our justification, are not capable of admitting faith to be an 
instrument in this work, nor are pressed with this considera- 
tion. For they acknowledge not that we receive a righteous- 
ness which is not our own by way of gift, whereby we are 
justified, and so cannot allow of any instrument whereby it 
should be received. The righteousness itself being as they 
phrase it putative, imaginary, a chimera, a fiction, it can have 
no real accidents, nothing that can be really predicated con- 
cerning it. Wherefore as was said at the entrance of this dis- 
course, the truth and propriety of this declaration of the use of 
faith in our justification by an instrumental cause, depends on 
the substance of the doctrine itself concerning the nature and 
principal causes of it, with which they must stand or fall. If 
we are justified through the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ, which faith alone apprehends and receives, it will not 
be denied but that it is rightly enough placed as the instru- 
mental cause of our justification. And if we are justified by 
an inherent evangelical righteousness of our own, faith may 
be the condition of its imputation, or a disposition for its in- 
troduction, or a congruous merit of it, but an instrument it 
cannot be. But yet for the present it has this double advan- 
tage, (1) That it best and most appositely answers what is 
affirmed of the use of faith in our justification, in the Scrip- 
ture, as the instances given manifest ; (2) That no other notion 
of it can be so stated, but that it must be apprehended in order 
of time to be previous to justification, which justifyhig faith 
cannot be, unless a man may be a true believer with justifying 
faith, and yet not be justified. 

Some plead that faith is the condition of our justification, 
and that otherwise it is not to be conceived of As I said be- 
fore, so I say again, I shall not contend with any man about 


words, terms, or expressions, so long as what is intended by 
tlieni, is agreed upon. And there is an obvious sense wherein 
faith may be called the condition of our justification. For no 
more may be intendod thereby, but that it is the duty on our 
part which God requires, that we may be justified. And this 
the whole Scripture bears witness to. Yet this hindereth not, 
but that as to its use, it may be the instrument whereby we 
apprehend or receive Christ and his righteousness. But to assert 
it the condition of our justification, or that we are justified by 
it as the condition of the new covenant, so as from a pre-con- 
ceived signification of that word, to give it another use in jus- 
tification exclusive of that pleaded for, as the instrumental 
cause thereof, is not easily to be admitted ; because it supposes 
an alteration in the substance of the doctrine itself 

The word is nowhere used in the Scripture in this matter ; 
which I argue no further, but that we have no certain rule or 
standard to try and measure its signification by. Wherefore 
it cannot first be introduced in what sense men please, and then 
that sense turned into argument for other ends. For thus on 
a supposed concession, that it is the condition of our justifica- 
tion, some heighten it into a subordinate righteousness, imput- 
ed to us, antecedently as I suppose, to the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ in any sense, whereof it is the condition. 
And some who pretend to lessen its etficiency or dignity in the 
use of it in our justification say, it is only causa sine qua non, 
which leaves us at as great an uncertainty as to the nature and 
efficacy of this condition as we were before. Nor is the true 
sense of things at all illustrated, but rather darkened by such 

If we may introduce words into religion nowhere used in 
the Scripture (as we may and must, if we design to bring light, 
and communicate proper apprehensions of the things contained 
to the minds of men) yet are we not to take along with them 
arbitrary preconceived senses, forged either among lawyers, 
or in the peripatetical school. The use of them in the most 
approved authors of the language whereto they belong, and 
their common vulgar acceptation among ourselves, must deter- 
mine their sense and meaning. It is known what confusion 
in the minds of men, the introduction of words into ecclesiasti- 
cal doctrines, of whose signification there has not been a certain 
determinate rule agreed on, has produced. So the word merit 
was introduced by some of the ancients, (as is plain from the 
design of their discourses where they use it) for impetration or 


acquisition quovis modo; by any means whatever. But there 
being no cogent reason to confine tlie word to that precise signi- 
fication, it has given occasion to as great a corruption as has 
befallen the Christian rehgion. We must therefore make use 
of the best means we have to understand the meaning of this 
word, and what is intended by it, before we admit of its use 
in this case. 

Conditio in the best Latin writers is variously used; answer- 
ing xaraaraitj, tvxri-, a|ia, diria, avvOr^xr] in the Greek : that is, 
Status, fortuna, dignitas, causa, pactum init^im. In which 
of these significations it is here to be understood is not easy 
to be determined. In common use among us, it sometimes 
denotes the state and quality of men, that is, xara^ra^tj and 
d|ia ; and sometimes a valuable consideration of what is to be 
done, that is dtna or ower^xri. But herein it is applied to 
things in great variety ; sometimes the principal procuring 
purchasing cause is so expressed. As the condition whereon 
a man lends another an hundred pounds, is that he be paid it 
again with interest. The condition whereon a man conveys 
his land to another, is, that he receive so much money for it. 
So a condition is a valuable consideration. And sometimes it 
signifies such things as are added to the principal cause whereon 
its operation is suspended. As a man bequeaths an hun- 
dred pounds to another, on condition that he come or go to 
such a place to demand it. This is no valuable consideration, 
yet is the eflject of the principal cause, or the will of the testa- 
tor, suspended thereon. And as to degrees of respect to that 
whereof any thing is a condition, as to purchase, procurement, 
valuable consideraiion, necessary presence, the variety is end- 
less. We therefore cannot obtain a determinate sense of this 
word condition, but from a particular declaration of what is 
intended by it wherever it is used. And although this be not 
sufficient to exclude the use of it from the declaration of the 
way and manner how we are justified by faith, yet is it so to 
exclude the imposition of any precise signification of it, any 
other than is given it by the matter treated of. Without this 
every thing is left ambiguous and uncertain whereto it is ap- 

For instance ; it is commonly said that faith and new obe- 
dience are the condition of the new covenant. But yet be- 
cause of the ambiguous signification and various use of that 
term condition we cannot certainly understand what is intend- 
ed in the assertion. If no more be intended, but that God in 


and by the new covenant indispensably requires these things 
of us, that is, the restipulation of a good conscience towards 
God by the resun-ection of Christ from the dead, in order to 
his own glory, and our fall enjoyment of all the benefits of it, 
it is unquestionably true. But if it be intended, that they are 
such a condition of the covenant, as to be by us performed 
antecedently to the participation of any grace, mercy, or privi- 
lege of it, so that they should be the consideration and pro- 
curing causes of them, that they should be all of them, as 
some speak, the reward of our faith and obedience, it is most 
false, and not only contrary to express testimonies of Scrip- 
ture, but destructive of the nature of the covenant itself. If 
it be intended that these things, though promised in the cove- 
nant and wrought in us by the grace of God, are yet duties re- 
quired of us in order to the participation and enjoyment of the 
full end of the covenant of glory, it is the truth which is as- 
serted. But if it be said that faith and new obedience, that is 
the works of righteousness which we do, are so the condition 
of the covenant, as that whatever the one is ordained of God 
as a means of, and in order to such or such an end, as justi- 
fication, that the other is likewise ordained to the same end, 
with the same kind of efficacy, or witii the same respect to the 
effect, it is expressly contrary to the whole scope and express 
design of the Apostle on that subject. But it will be said that 
a condition in the sense intended, when faith is said to be the 
condition of our justification, is no more but that it is causa 
sine qua non; which is easy enough to be apprehended. But 
yet neither are we so delivered out of uncertainties, into a plain 
understanding of what is intended. For these causes sine qui- 
hus non, may be taken largely or more strictly and precisely. 
So are they commonly distinguished by the masters in these 
arts. Those so called in a larger sense, are all such causes in 
any kind of efficiency or merit, as are inferior to principal 
causes, and would operate nothing without them, but in con- 
junction with them have a real effective influence, physical or 
moral, upon the production of the effect. And if we take a 
condition td be a causa sine qua non, in this sense, we are 
still at a loss what may be its use, efficiency or merit, with re- 
spect to our justification. If it be taken more strictly for that 
which is necessarily present, but has no causality in any kind, 
not that of a receptive instrument, I cannot understand how 
it should be an ordinance of God. For every thing that he has 
appointed *o any end moral or spiritual, has by virtue of that 


appointment, either a symbolical instructive efficacy, or an ac- 
tive efficiency, or a rewardable condecency with respect to that 
end. Other things may be generally and remotely necessary 
to such an end, so far as it partakes of the order of natural 
beings, which are not ordinances of God with respect thereto, 
and so have no kind of causality with respect to it, as it is 
moral or spiritual. So the air we breathe is needful to the 
preaching of the word, and consequently a causa sine qua non 
thereof; but an ordinance of God with especial respect thereto 
it is not. But every thing that he appoints to an especial 
spiritual end, has an efficacy or operation in one or other of 
the ways mentioned. For they either concur with the prin- 
cipal cause in its internal efficiency, or they operate externally 
in the removal of obstacles and hinderances that oppose the 
principal cause in its efficiency. And this excludes all causes 
sine quibus non strictly so taken, from any place among divine 
ordinances. God appoints nothing for an end that shall do 
nothing. His sacraments are not opya ori^iio., unmeaning signs, 
but by virtue of his institution they exhibit that grace which 
they do not in themselves contain. The preaching of the 
word has a real efficiency to all the ends of it; so have ail the 
graces and duties that he works in us, and requires of us; by 
them all are we "made meet for the inheritance of the saints in 
light;" and our whole obedience through his gracious appoint- 
ment has a rewardable condecency with respect to eternal life. 
Wherefore as faith may be allowed to be the condition of our 
justification, if no more be intended thereby, but that it is 
what God requires of us that we may be justified; so to con- 
fine the declaration of its use in our justification to its being 
the condition of it, when so much as a determinate significa- 
tion of it cannot be agreed upon, is subservient only to the 
interest of unprofitable strife and contention. 

To close these discourses concerning faith and its use in our 
justification, some things must yet be added concerning its 
especial object. For although what has been spoken already 
thereon, in the description of its nature and object in general, 
be sufficient in general to state its especial object also ; yet there 
having been an inquiry concerning it, and debate about it in a 
peculiar notion, and under some especial terms, that also must 
be considered. And this is whether justifying faith in our jus- 
tification or its use therein, do respect Christ as a king and pro- 
phet, as well as a priest, with the satisfaction that as such he 
made for us, and that in the same manner, and to the same 


ends and purposes. And I shall be brief in this inquiry, because 
it is but a late controversy, and it may be has more of curiosity 
in its disquisition, than of edification in its determination. 
However being not, that I know of, under these terms stated 
in any public confessions of the Reformed churches, it is free 
for any to express their apprehensions concerning it. And to 
tills purpose I say: 

1. P'aith whereby we are justified m the receiving of Christ, 
principally respects his person for all those ends for which he 
is the ordinance of God. It does not in the first place, as it is 
faith in general, respect his person absolutely, seeing its formal 
object as such, is the truth of God in the proposition, and not 
the thing itself proposed. Wherefore it so respects and receives 
Christ as proposed in the promise; the promise itself being tht 
formal object of its assent. 

2. We cannot so receive Christ in the promise, as in that act 
of receiving him to exclude the consideration of any of his 
offices. For as he is not at any time to be considered by us, 
but as vested with all his offices, so a distinct conception of the 
mind to receive Christ as a priest, but not as a king or prophet, 
is not faith but unbelief, not the receiving but the rejecting 
of him. 

3. In the receiving of Christ for justification formally, our 
distinct express design is to be justified thereby, and no more. 
Now to be justified is to be freed from the guilt of sin, or to 
have all our sins pardoned, and to have a righteousness where- 
vi^ith to appear before God, so as to be accepted with him, and 
a right to the heavenly inheritance. Every believer has othei 
designs also, wherein he is equally concerned with this ; as 
namely, the renovation of his nature, the sanctification of his 
person, and ability to live to God in all holy obedience. But 
the things before mentioned are all that he aims at or designs 
in his applications to Christ, or his receiving of him to justifica- 
tion. Wherefore, 

4. Justifying faith in that act or work of it whereby we are 
justified, respects Christ in his priestly office alone, as he was 
the surety of the covenant, with what he did in the discharge 
thereof The consideration of his other offices is not excluded, 
but it is not formally comprised in the object of faith as 

5. When we say that the sacerdotal office of Christ, or the 
blood of Christ, or the satisfaction of Christ, is that alone which 
faith respects in justification, we do not exclude, yea we do 


really include and comprise in that assertion, all that depends 
thereon, or concurs to make them etfectual to our justification. 
As (1) the free grace and favour of God in giving Christ for 
us and to us, whereby we are frequently said to be justified, 
Rom. iii. 24; Ephes. ii. 8; Tit. iii. 7. His wisdom, love, right- 
eousness and power, are of the same consideration, as has been 
declared. (2) Whatever in Christ himself was necessary ante- 
cedently to his discharge of that office, or was consequential 
thereof, or necessarily accompanied it. Such was his incar- 
nation, the whole course of his obedience, his resurrection, 
ascension, exaltation and intercession. For the consideration 
of all these things is inseparable from the discharge of his 
priestly office. And therefore is justification either expressly 
or virtually assigned to them also, Gen. iii. 15 ; 1 John iii. 8 ; 
Heb. ii. 1.3 — 16 ; Rom. iv. 25 ; Acts v. 31 ; Heb. vii. 27 ; Rom. 
viii. 34. But yet wherever our justification is so assigned to 
them, they are not absolutely considered, but with respect to 
their relation to his sacrifice and satisfaction. (3) All the 
means of the application of the sacrifice and righteousness of 
the Lord Christ to us are also included therein. Such is the 
principal efficient cause thereof, which is the Holy Ghost, 
whence we are said to be "justified in the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God," 1 Cor. vi. 1 1 ; and 
the instrumental cause thereof on the part of God, which is the 
promise of the gospel, Rom. i. 17; Gal. iii. 22, 23. It would 
therefore be unduly pretended, that by this assertion we narrow 
or straiten the object of justifying faith as it justifies. For 
indeed we assign a respect to the whole mediatory office of 
Christ, not excluding the kingly and prophetical parts thereof; 
but only such a notion of them, as would not bring in more 
of Christ, but much of ourselves into our justification. And 
the assertion as laid down may be proved, 

1. From the experience of all that are justified, or who seek 
for justification according to the gospel. For under this notion 
of seeking for justification, or a righteousness for justification, 
they were all of them to be considered, and do consider them- 
selves as irtohxot rw 0fco, guilty before God, subject, obnoxious, 
liable to his wrath in the curse of the law ; as we declared in 
the entrance of this discourse, Rom. iii. 19. They were all in 
the same state that x\dam was in after the fall, to whom God 
proposed the relief of* the incarnation and suffering of Christ, 
Gen. iii. 15. And to seek after justification, is to seek after a 
discharge from this woful state and condition. Such persons 



have and ought to have other designs and desires also. For 
whereas the state wherein they are, antecedent to their justifi- 
cation, is not only a state of guilt and wrath, but such also as 
wherein, through the depravity of their nature, the power of 
sin is prevalent in them, and their whole souls are defiled, 
they design and desire not only to be justified, but to be sanc- 
tified also. But as to the guilt of sin, and the want of a right- 
eousness before God, from which justification is their relief, 
herein I say they have respect to Christ, as set forth to be a 
propitiation through faith in his blood. In their design for 
sanctification they have respect to the kingly and prophetical 
offices of Christ, in their especial exercise. But as to their 
freedom from the guilt of sin, and their acceptance with God, 
or their justification in his sight, that they may be freed from 
condemnation, that they may not come into judgment; it is 
Christ crucified, it is Christ lifted up as the brazen serpent in 
the wilderness, it is the blood of Christ, it is the propitiation 
that he was, and the atonement that he made, it is his bearing 
their sins, his being made sin and the curse for them, it is iiis 
obedience, the end which he put to sin, and the everlasting 
righteousness which he brought in, that alone their faith fixes 
upon and acquiesces in. If it be otherwise in the experience 
of any, I acknowledge I am not acquainted with it. I do not 
say that conviction of sin is the only antecedent condition of 
actual justification. But this it is that makes a sinner suhjectum 
capax justificationis, a fit subject of justification. No man, 
therefore is to be considered as a person to be justified, but he 
who is actually under the power of the conviction of sin, with 
all the necessary consequents thereof. Suppose therefore any 
simier in this condition, as it is described by the apostle, Rom. 
iii. guilty before God, with his mouth stopped as to any pleas, 
defences or excuses ; suppose him to seek after a relief and de- 
liverance out of this estate, that is, to be justified according to 
the gospel; he neither does, nor can wisely take any other 
course than what he is there directed to by the same apostle, 
ver. 20 — 25. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall 
no tiesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the know- 
ledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the 
law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 
even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus 
Christ unto all, and upon all them that*believe, for there is no 
difference ; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of 
God ; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemp- 


tion that, is in Jesus Christ ; whom God hath set forth to be a 
propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteous- 
ness for the remission of sins that are past, through the for- 
bearance of God." Whence I argue : 

That which a guiUy condemned sinner, finding no hope, nor 
relief from the law of God, the sole rule of all his obedience, 
betakes himself to by faith that he may be delivered or justi- 
fied, that is the especial object of faith as justifying. But this 
is the grace of God alone through the redemption that is in 
Christ, or Christ proposed as a propitiation through faith in his 
blood. Either this is so, or the Apostle does not aright guide 
the souls and consciences of men in that condition wherehi he 
himself places them. It is the blood of Christ alone to which he 
directs the faith of all them that would be justified before 
God. Grace, redemption, propitiation, all through the blood 
of Christ, faith peculiarly respects and fixes upon. This is 
that, if I mistake not, which they will confirm by their expe- 
rience, who have made any distinct observation of the actings 
of their faith in their justification before God. 

2. The Scripture plainly declares that faith as justifying, re- 
spects the sacerdotal office and actings of Christ alone. In the 
great representation of the justification of the church of old in 
the expiatory sacrifice, when all their sins and iniquities were 
pardoned, and their persons accepted with God, the acting of 
their faith was limited to the imposition of all their sins on the 
head of the sacrifice by the high priest, Lev. xvi. " By his 
knowledge," that is faith in him, " shah my righteous servant 
justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities." Isa. liii. 11. 
Tha't alone which faith respects in Christ as to the justification 
of sinners, is his bearing their iniquities. Guilty convinced 
sinners look to him by faith, as those who were stung with 
fiery serpents did to the brazen serpent ; that is, as he was 
lifted up on the cross. John iii. 14, 15. So did he himself ex- 
press the nature and actings of faith in our justification. Rom. 
iii. 24, 25. " Being justified freely by his grace through the 
redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth 
to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." As he is a 
propitiation, as he shed his blood for us, as we have redemp- 
tion thereby, he is the pecuhar object of our faith, with respect 
to our justification. See to the same purpose. Rom. v. 9, 10; 
viii. 3, 4 ; Ephes. i. 7 ; h. 13 — 16 ; Col. i. 14. " He was made 
sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the right- 
eousness of God in him." 2 Cor. v. 21. That which we seek 


after in justification is a participation of the rigliteonsness of 
God ; to be made the righteousness of God, and that not in our- 
selves but in another, that is, in Christ Jesus. And that alone 
which is proposed to our faith as the means and cause of it, is, 
his being " made sin " for us, or a sacrifice for sin, wherein all 
the guilt of our sins was laid on him, and he bare all our ini- 
quities. This therefore is its peculiar object herein. And 
wherever in the Scripture we are directed to seek for the for- 
giveuess of sins by the blood of Christ, I'eceive the atonement, 
to be justified through the faith of him as crucified, the object 
of faith in justification is limited and determined. 

But it may be pleaded in exception to these testimonies, that 
no one of them affirms, that we are justified by faith in the 
blood of Christ alone ; so as to exclude the consideration of the 
other offices of Christ and their actings, from being the ob- 
ject of faith in the same manner, and to the same ends, with 
his sacerdotal office, and what belongs thereto, or is derived 
from it. 

Answer. This exception is derived from that common obec- 
tion against the doctrine of justification by faith alone; namely, 
that that exclusive term alone, is not found in the Scripture, or 
in any of the testimonies that are produced for justification by 
faith. But it is replied with sufficient evidence of truth, that 
although the word be not found syllabically used to this pur- 
pose ; yet there are exceptive expressions equivalent to it, as 
we shall see afterwards. It is so in this particular instance also. 
For (1) whereas our justification is expressly ascribed to our 
faith in the blood of Christ, as the propitiation for our sins, to 
our believing in him as crucified for us, and it is nowhere as- 
cribed to pur receiving of him as king, lord, or prophet ; it is 
plain, that the former expressions are virtually exclusive of 
the latter consideration, (2) I do not say, that the considera- 
tion of the kingly and prophetical offices of Christ is excluded 
from our justification, as works are excluded in opposition to 
faith and grace. For they are so excluded, as that we are to 
exercise an act of our minds in their positive rejection, as say- 
ing. Get you hence, you have no lot nor portion in this matter. 
But as to these offices of Christ, as to the object of faith as jus- 
tifying, we say only that they are not included therein. For so 
to believe to be justified by his blood, as to exercise a positive 
act of the mind, excluding a compliance with his other offices, 
is an impious imagination, 

3, Neither the consideration of these offices themselves, nor 


of any of the peculiar acts of them, is suited to give the souls 
and consciences of convinced sinners, that relief which they 
seek after in justification. We are not in this whole cause to lose 
sight of the state of the person who is to be justified and what it 
is lie seeks after and ought to seek after, therein. Now this is 
pardon of sin, and righteousness before God alone. That there- 
fore, which is no way suited to give or tender this relief to him, 
is not, nor can be the object of his faith, whereby he is justified 
in that exercise of it, whereon his justification depends. This 
relief, it will be said, is to be had in Christ alone. It is true, 
but under what consideration ? for the sole design of the sinner 
is how he may be accepted with God, be at peace with him, 
have all his wrath turned away, by a propitiation or atone- 
ment. Now this can no otherwise be done, but by the acting 
of some one, towards God, and with God, on his behalf; for 
it is about the turning away of God's anger, and acceptance 
with him, that the inquiry is made. It is by the blood of 
Christ that we are made nigh, who were far off. Ephes. ii. 13. 
By the blood of Christ are we reconciled who were enemies; 
ii. 16. By the blood of Christ we have redemption. Rom. iii. 
24, 25 ; Eph. i. 7, &c. This, therefore, is the object of faith. 

All the actings of the kingly and prophetical offices of Christ, 
dixefrom God, that is, in the name and authority of God towards 
us. Not any one of them is towards God on our behalf, so 
that by virtue of them, we should expect acceptance with God. 
They are all good, blessed, lioly, in themselves, and of an emi- 
nent tendency to the glory of God in our salvation ; yea, they 
are no less necessary to our salvation to the praise of God's 
grace, than are the atonement for sin and satisfaction which 
he made ; for from them is the way of life revealed to us, grace 
communicated, our persons sanctified, and the reward be- 
stowed. Yea, in the exercise of his kingly power does the Lord 
Christ pardon and justify sinners. Not that he did as a king 
constitute the law of justification, for it was given and estab- 
lished in the first promise, and he came to put it in execution. 
John iii. 16. But in the virtue of his atonement and righteous- 
ness imputed to them, he both pardons and justifies sinners. 
But they are the acts of his sacerdotal office alone, that respect 
God on our behalf. Whatever he did on earth with God for 
the church, in obedience, suffering, and offering up of himself, 
whatever he does in heaven in intercession, a.nd appearance 
in the presence of God for us, it all entirely belongs to his 
priestly office. And in these things alone does the soul of a 

12 * 


convinced sinner find relief, when he seeks after dehverance 
from the state of shi and acceptance with God. In these there- 
fore alone, the peculiar object of his faith, that which will give 
him rest and peace, must be comprised. And this last conside- 
ration is of itself sutficient to determine this difference. 

Sundry things are objected against this assertion, which I 
shall not here at large discuss, because what is material in any 
of them, will occur on other occasions, where its consideration 
will be more proper. In general it may be pleaded, that justi- 
fying faith is the same with saving faith ; nor is it said that we 
are justified by this or that part of faith, but by faith in gene- 
ral, that is, as taken essentially for the entire grace of faith. 
And as to faith in this sense, not only a respect to Christ in all 
his offices, but obedience itself also is included in it, as is evi- 
dent in many places of the Scripture. Wherefore there is no 
reason why we should limit the object of it, to the person of 
Christ as acting in the discharge of his sacerdotal office, with 
the effects and fruits thereof. 

Answer. 1. Saving faith, and justifying faith in any believer 
are one and the same, and the adjuncts of saving and just if y- 
ing are but external denominations, from its distinct operations 
and eftects. But yet saving faith acts in a peculiar manner, 
and is of peculiar use in justification, such as it is not of under 
any other consideration whatever. Wherefore (2) althougli 
saving faith as it is described in general, always includes obe- 
dience, not as its form or essence, but as the necessary effect is 
included in the cause, and the fruit in the fruit-bearing juice, 
and is often mentioned as to its being and exercise, where there 
is no express mention of Christ, his blood, and his righteous- 
ness, but is applied to all the acts, duties, and ends of the gos- 
pel ; yet this proves not at all, but that as to its duty, place, and 
acting in our justification, it has a peculiar object. If it could 
be proved, that, where justification is ascribed to faith, there it 
has any other object assigned to it, as that which it rested in 
for the pardon of sin and acceptance with God, this objection 
were of some force. But this cannot be done. (3) This is not 
to say, that we are justified by a part of faith, and not by it as 
considered essentially; for we are justified by the entire grace 
of faith, acting in such a peculiar way and manner ; as others 
have observed. But the truth is, we need not insist on the dis- 
cussion of this inquiry. For the true meaning of it is, not 
whether any thing of Christ is to be excluded from being tlie 
object of justifying faith, or of faith in our justification, but 


wnat, in and of onrselves, under the name of receiving Christ, 
as our Lord and King, is to be admitted to an efficiency or con- 
ditionahty in that work. As it is granted, that justifying faith 
is the receiving of Christ, so whatever belongs to the person of 
Christ, or any office of his, or any acts in the discharge of any 
office, that may be reduced to any cause of our justification, 
the meritorious, procuring, material, formal, or manifesting 
cause of it, is so far as it does so, freely admitted to belong to 
the object of justifying faith. Neither will I contend whh any 
upon this disadvantageous stating of the question, what of 
Christ is to be esteemed the object of justifying faith, and what 
is not so ? For the thing intended is only this ; whether our own 
obedience, distinct from faith, or included in it, and in like 
manner as faith, be the condition of our justification before 
God. This being that which is intended, which the other 
question is but invented to lead to a compliance with, by a 
more specious pretence than in itself it is capable of under 
those terms, it shall be examined and no otherwise. 



In order to the right understanding of the nature of justification, 
the proper sense and signification of these words themselves, 
justification and to justify, is to be inquired into. For until that 
is agreed upon, it is impossible that our discourses concerning 
the thing itself should be freed from equivocation. Take words 
in various senses, and all may be true that is contradictorily 
affirmed or denied concerning what they are supposed to sig- 
nify. And so it has actually fallen out in this case, as we shall 
see more fully afterwards. Some taking these words in one 
sense, some in another, have appeared to deliver contrary doc- 
trines concerning the thing itself, or our justification before 
God; who yet have fully agreed in what the proper determi- 
nate sense or si j ification of the words imports. And there- 
fore the true meaning of them has been declared and vindicated 
already by many. But whereas the right stating hereofj is of 


more moment to the determination of what is principally con- 
troverted about the doctrine itself, or the thing signified, than 
most apprehend; and something at least remains to be added 
for the declaration and vindication of the import and only sig- 
nification of these words in the Scripture, I shall give an 
account of my observations concerning it, with what diligence 
I can. 

Tlie Latin derivation and composition of the word justifica- 
tio would seem to denote an internal change from inherent un- 
righteousness, to righteousness likewise inherent; by a physical 
motion, and transmutation, as the schoolmen speak. For such 
is the signification of words of the same composition. So 
sanctiiication, mortification, vivification, and the like, all de- 
note a real internal work on the subject spoken of. Hereon 
in the whole Roman school, justification is taken for the making 
of a man to be inherently righteous by the infusion of a prin- 
ciple or habit of grace, who was before inherently and habit- 
ually unjust and unrighteous. Whilst this is taken to be the 
proper signification of the word, we neither do nor can speak 
ad idem In our disputations with them about the cause and 
nature of that justification, which the Scripture teaches. 

And this appearing sense of the word possibly deceived some 
of tbe ancients, as Austin in particular, to declare the doctrine 
of free gratuitous sanctification, without respect to any works 
of our own, under the name of justification. For neither he 
nor any of them, ever thought of a justification before God, 
consisting in the pardon of our sins and the acceptation of our 
person as righteous, by virtue of any inherent habit of grace 
infused into us, or acted by us. Wherefore the subject matter 
must be determined by the Scriptural use and signification of 
these words, belbre we can speak properly or intelligibly con- 
cerning it. Fov it' to just if 1/ men in the Scripture, signify to 
make tliem subjectively and inherently righteous, we must ac- 
knowledge a mistake in wiiat we teach concerning the nature 
and causes of justification. And if it signify no such thing, all 
their disputations about justification by the infusion of grace 
and inherent righteousness thereon fall to the ground. Where- 
fore all Protestants (and the Socinians all of them comply 
therein) alfirm that the use and signification of these words, is 
forensic, denoting an act of jurisdiction. Only the Socinians, 
and some others, would have it to consist in the pardon of sin 
only, which indeed the word does not at all signify. But the 
sense of the word is to acquit, to declare and pronounce right- 


eons upon a trial, which in this case, the pardon of sin neces- 
sarily accompanies. 

Justificatio and justijico belong not indeed to the Latin 
tongue ; nor can any good author be produced who ever used 
them, for the making of him inherently righteous by any 
means who was not so before. But whereas these words were 
coined and framed to signify such things as are intended, we 
have no way to determine the signification of them, but by 
the consideration of the nature of the things which they 
were invented to declare and signify. And whereas in this 
language these words are derived from jus and Justus, they 
must respect an act of jurisdiction, rather than a physical 
operation or infusion. Justijicari is Justus censeri, pro justo 
haberi; to be esteemed, accounted or adjudged righteous. So 
a man was made Justus Jllius in adoption to him, by whom 
he was adopted: what this is, is well declared by Budaeus.* 
" Speaking of the form of adoption — He who adopts is asked 
whether he wishes him whom he designs to adopt, to be to him 
a just son. By just, I understand not true, as some think, but 
one who has all the attributes of filiation, who sustains the 
relation of a true son, who sits in the place of a lawfully- 
begotten child." Wherefore, as by adoption, there is no 
internal inherent change made in the person adopted; but by 
virtue thereof he is esteemed and adjudged as a true son, and 
has all the rights of a legitimate son; so by justification, as to 
the import of the word, a man is only esteemed, declared and 
pronounced righteous, as if he were completely so. And in 
the present case, justification and gratuitous adoption are the 
same grace for the substance of them, John i. 12; only respect 
is had in their different denomination of the same grace, to 
different effects or privileges that ensue thereon. 

But the true and genuine signification of these words is to 
be determined from those in the original languages of the 
Scripture which are expounded by them. In the Hebrew it 
is PTi. This the Lxx. render by Sixawj^ dno^airio, Job xxvii. 5. 

iuxMOi aTio^aivojAai, Job xiii. 18. Sixatof xpivu, PrOV. Xvii. 15, to 

show or declare one righteous; to appear righteous; to judge 

any one righteous. And the sense may be taken from any 

one of them, as Job xiii. 18. "Behold now I have ordered my 

* Cajus lib. 2. F. de Adopt. De arrogatione loquens ; is qui adoptat 

vogatur, id est, interrogatur, an velit euin quem adoptaturus sit, justum sibi 
alium esse. Justum intelligo non verum, ut aliqui censent, sed omnibus par- 
ti bus ut ita dicam filiationis, veri filii vicein obtinentem, naturalis et legitimi 
filii loco sedentem. 


cause, T know I shall be justified." The ordering of his 
cause, (his judgment) his cause to be judged on, is liis prepara- 
tion for a sentence, either of absolution or condemnation ; and 
hereon his confidence was that he should be justified, that 
is, absolved, acquitted, pronounced righteous. And the sense 
is no less pregnant in the other places ; commonly they render 
it by §t>:atoco, whereof I shall speak afterwards. 

Properly it denotes an action towards another, (as justifica- 
tion, and to justify do) in Hiphil only : and a reciprocal action 
of a man on himself in Hithpael P'-iin. Hereby alone is the 
true sense of these words determined. And I say that in no 
place, nor on any occasion, is it used in that conjugation 
wherein it denotes an action towards another, in any other 
sense, but to absolve, acquit, esteem, declare, pronounce right- 
eous, or to impute righteousness, which is the forensic sense of 
the word we plead for ; that is its constant use and significa- 
tion, nor does it ever once signify to make inherently right- 
eous ; much less to pardon or forgive. So vain is the pretence 
of some that justification consists only in the pardon of sin, 
which is not signified by the word in any one place of Scrip- 
ture. Almost in all places this sense is absolutely unquestion- 
able ; nor is there any more than one which will admit of any 
debate, and that on so faint a pretence as cannot prejudice its 
constant use and signification in all other places. Whatever 
therefore an infusion of inherent grace may be, or however it 
may be called, justification it is not, it cannot be ; the word 
no where signifying any such thing. Wherefore those of the 
church of Rome do not so much oppose justification by faith 
through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, as in- 
deed deny that there is any such thing as justification. For 
that which they call the first justification, consisting in the in- 
fusion of a principle of inherent grace, is no such thing as jus- 
tification. And their second justification which they place in 
the merit of works, wherein absolution or pardon of sin, has 
neither place nor consideration, is inconsistent with evangeli- 
cal justification, as we shall show afterwards. 

This word, therefore, whether the act of God towards men, 
or of men towards God, or of men among themselves, or of 
one towards another, be expressed thereby, is always used in 
a forensic sense, and does not denote a physical operation, 
transfusion or transmutation, 2 Sam. xv. 1 '•' If any man hath 
a suit or cause let him come to me, v.n,-.-ii-m and I will do him 
justice ;" I will justify him, judge in his cause and pronounce 


for him. Dent. xxv. 1. "If there be a controvers}'- among 
men, and they come to judgment, that the judges may judge 
them, they shall justify the righteous," pronounce sentence on 
his side, whereunto is opposed " and they shall condemn the 
wicked ;" make him wicked, as the word signifies ; that is, 
judge, declare and pronounce him wicked, whereby he be- 
comes so judicially, and in the eye of the law ; as the other 
is made righteous, by declaration and acquittal. He does not 
say this shall pardon the righteous, to suppose which would 
overthrow both the antithesis and design of the place. And 
r^"^'' is as much to infuse wickedness into a man, as p^iin is to in- 
fuse a principle of grace or righteousness into him. The same 
antithesis occurs, Prov. xvii. 1 5, r^-'x rs'-'m ';v-^ .T'lxn, " He that jus- 
tifieth the wicked and condemneth the righteous ;" not he 
that maketh the wicked inherently righteous, nor he that 
changeth him inherently from unrighteous to righteousness: 
but he that without any ground, reason or foundation acquits 
him in judgment, or declares him to be righteous, is an abomi- 
nation to the Lord. And although this be spoken of the judg- 
ment of men, yet the judgment of God also is according to 
this truth. For although he justifies the ungodly, those who 
are so in themselves, yet he does it on the ground and consi- 
deration of a perfect righteousness made theirs by imputation; 
and by another act of his grace, that they may be meet sub- 
jects of this righteous favour, really and inherently changes 
them from unrighteousness to holiness, by the renovation of 
their natures: and these things are singular in the actings of 
God, which nothing amongst men has any resemblance to or 
can represent. For the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ, to a person in himself ungodly for his justification, or 
that he may be acquitted, absolved, and declared righteous, is 
built on such foundations, and proceeds on such principles of 
righteousness, wisdom and sovereignty, as have no place 
ainong the actions of men, nor can have, as shall afterwards 
be declared. And moreover, when God justifies the ungodly 
on account of the righteousness imputed to him, he does at 
the same instant, by the power of his grace, make him inhe- 
rently and subjectively righteous or holy, which men cannot 
do one towards another. And therefore whereas man's justi- 
fying the wicked, is to justify them in their wicked ways, 
whereby they are constantly made worse and more obdurate 
in evil ; when God justifies the ungodly, their change from 


personal unrighteousness and unholiness, to righteousness and 
holiness, necessarily and infallibly accompanies it. 

To the same purpose is the word used ; Isa. v. 22, "which 
justify the wicked for reward." 1. 8. v^sD3n,-i. "He is near 
that justitieth me; who shall contend with me ? let us stand 
together ; who is my adversary ? let him come near to me ; be- 
hold the Lord God will help me ; who shall condemn me ?" 
where we have a full declaration of the proper sense of the 
word, which is to acquit and pronounce righteous on a trial. 
And the same sense is fully expressed in the former antithesis. 
1 Kings viii. 31, 32. " If any man trespass against his neigh- 
bour, and an oath belaid upon him to cause him to swear, and 
the oath come before thine altar in this house ; then hear thou in 
Heaven and do, and judge thy servants to condemn the wick- 
ed," to charge his wickedness on him, to bring his way on his 
head, " and to justify the righteous." The same words are 
repeated 2 Cliron. vi. 22, 23 ; Psa. Ixxxii. 3. " Do justice to 
the atflicted and poor;" that is justify them in their cause 
against wrong and oppression. Exod. xxiii. 7. " I will not 
justify the wicked;" absolve, acquit, or pronounce him right- 
eous. Job xxvii. 5. "Be it far from me that I should justify 
you," or pronounce sentence on your side, as if you were 
righteous. Isa. liii. 11. "By his knowledge my righteous ser- 
vant shall justify many;" the reason whereof is added: "for 
he shall bear their iniquities," whereon they are absolved and 

Once it is used in Hithpael, wherein a reciprocal action is 
denoted, that whereby a man justifies himself. Gen, xliv. 16. 
" And Judah said. What shall we say unto my Lord ? what 
shall we speak, and how shall we justify ourselves? God hath 
found out our iniquity." They could plead nothing why they 
should be absolved from guilt. 

Once the participle is used to denote the outward instrumental 
cause of the justification of others, in which place alone the^ 
is any doubt of its sense ; Dan. xii. 3; " and they that justify 
many ;" namely, in the same sense that the preachers of the 
gospel are said to " save themselves and others." 1 Tim. iv. 
16, For men may be no less the instrumental causes of the 
justification of others, than of their sanctification. 

Wherefore, although ?^'^ in Kal, signifies justimi esse, and 
sometimes j?iste agere, which may relate to inherent righteous- 
ness ; yet where any action towards another is denoted, this 
word signifies nothing, but to esteem, declare, pronounce, and 


adjudge any one absolved, acquitted, cleared, justified: there is 
theretbre no other kind of justification once mentioned in the 
Old Testament. 

Aixatou is the word used to the same purpose in the New 
Testament, and that alone. Neither is this word used in any- 
good author whatever, to signify the making of a man righteous 
by any applications to produce mternal righteousness in him ; 
but either to absolve and acquit, to judge, esteem, and pro- 
nounce righteous, or on the contrary to condemn. So Suidas, 

Aizatovf 8vo brj^oi, ro rt xo%a^tt.v, xai to SixaLov vo/xi^evv, " Atzatoco 

has two significations, to punish, and to account righteous." 
And he confirms this sense of the word by instances out of 
Herodotus, Appianus and Josephus. And again, bixmuaM atfia- 

tLxrj, xatabvxa'jai, xoXaiav, 6i,xat,ov vo/xcoat, ; " With an aCCUSatlVe 

case," that is, when it respects and affects a subject, a person, 
" it is either to condemn and punish, or to esteem and declare 
righteous ;" and of this latter sense, he gives pregnant instances 
in the next words. Hesychius mentions only the first signifi- 
cation. Ai3caiov,U£i'Of, xoXa^ofXivov, hixaiiarsM, zoXasat. They UCVer 

thought of any sense of this word, but what is forensic. And 
in our language, to be justified, was commonly used formerly, 
for to be judged and sentenced; as it is still among the Scots. 
One of the articles of peace between the two nations at the 
surrender of Leith, in the days of Edward the Sixth, was ; 
" that if any one committed a crime, he should be justified by 
the law, upon his trial." And in general 6tza'.ova>ai, \s jus in 
judicio adferre; and hixaMnai, is jiistum ccvseve, declarare, 
pronuntiare ; and how in the Scripture it is constantly oppos- 
ed to condemnare, we shall see immediately. 

But we may more distinctly consider the use of this word 
in tlie New Testament, as we have done that of p-'ixn in 
the Old. And that which we inquire concerning is, whether 
this word be used in the New Testament, in a forensic sense 
to denote an act of jurisdiction, or m a physical sense to ex- 
press an internal change or mutation, the infusion of a habit 
of righteousness, and the denomhiation of the person lo be 
justified thereon ; or whether it signifies not pardon of sin. 
But this we may lay aside ; for surely no man was ever yet 
so fond as to pretend that Stxat-ow signified to pardon sin ; yet 
is it the only word applied to express our justification in the 
New Testament. For if it be taken only in the former sense, 
then that which is pleaded for by those of the Roman cliurch, 
under the name of justification, whatever it be, however good, 



useful and necessary, yet justification it is not, nor can be so 
called ; seeing it is a thing quite of another nature than what 
alone is signified by that word. Matt. xi. 10, cStxaiwe*? jy aof la; 
"wisdom is justified of her children," not made just, but ap- 
proved and declared, chap. xii. 37, ix tu,v xoyw as bixcuuer^ar^ ; 
" by thy words thou shalt be justified ;" not made just by them, 
but judged according to them, as is manifest in the antithesis, 
xa.1 ix ru,v ?Loywr a« zafaStzac^^jy ; " and by thy words thou shalt 
be condemned." Luke vii. 29, ihxan^aav tov @cov ; " they jus- 
tified God ;" not surely by making him righteous in himself, 
but by owning, avowing and declaring his righteousness; chap. 
X. 29, i §! SfTMv bixaiovv iovtov ; "he willing to justify himself," 
to declare and maintain his own righteousness. To the same 

purpose ^ chap. XVi. 15, v^a^ ia-ts ot bixawvvtti tavtov^ ivuiTtiov rmv 

di'9p<orfcoi/ ; " ye are they that justify yourselves before men ;" 
they did not make themselves internally righteous, but ap- 
proved of their own conditior ; as our Saviour declares in the 
place, Luke xviii. 14 ; the publican went down ^nhxam^^nvo^, 
"justified" to his house ; that is, acquitted, absolved, par- 
doned, upon the confession of his sin, and supplication for 
remission. Acts xiii. 3S, 39, with Rom. ii. 13, ol Ttoirj-tai tov 
vo^is Stxaicoej/TOirat. " The docrs of the law shall be justified." 
The place declares directly the nature of our justification be- 
fore God, and puts the signification of the word out of ques- 
tion. For justification ensues, as the whole effect of inherent 
righteousness according to the law : and therefore it is not 
the making of us righteous; which is irrefragable. It is spoken 
of God ; Rom. iii. 4, uxu,; w 8izaito9>jj iv rotj TMyoi^ TO ; " That 
thou mayest be justified in thy sayings ;" where to ascribe 
any other sense to the word is blasphemy. In like manner 
the same word is used, and in the same signification ; 1 Cor. 
iv. 4; 1 Tim. iii. 16; Rom. hi. 20, 26, 28, 30 ; iv. 2, 5; v. 1, 9; 
vi. 7; viii. 30; Gal. ii. 16, 17; iii. 11, 24; v. 4; Tit. iii. 7; Jam. 
ii. 22, 24, 25. And in no one of these instances can it admit 
of any other signification, or denote the making of any man 
righteous by the infusion of a habit, or principle of righteous- 
ness, or any internal mutation whatever. 

It is not therefore in mmiy places of Scripture, as Bellarmine 
grants, that the words we have insisted on, signify the declara- 
tion or judicial pronunciation of any one to be righteous, but 
in all places where they are used, they are capable of no other 
but a forensic sense ; especially is this evident where mention 
is made of justification before God. And because in my 


judgment this one consideration sufficiently defeats all the pre- 
tences of those of the Roman church about the nature of jus- 
tification, I shall consider what is excepted against the obser- 
vation insisted on, and remove it out of our way. 

Lud. le Blanc, in his conciliatory endeavours on this article 
of justification {Thes. de usu et acceplatione vocis, Jristijicandi.) 
grants to the Papists, that the word Sixaiou in sundry places of 
tlie New Testament, signifies to renew, to sanctify, to infuse a 
habit of holiness or righteousness, according as they plead. 
And there is no reason to think but he has groimded that con- 
cession on those instances, which are most pertinent to that 
purpose. Neither is it to be expected that a better countenance 
will be given by any to this concession, than is given it by him. 
I shall therefore examine all the instances which he insists 
upon to this purpose, and leave the determination of the dif- 
ference to the judgment of the reader. Only I shall premise 
that which I judge not an unreasonable demand ; namely. 
That if the signification of the word in any, or all the places 
which he mentions, should seem doubtful to any, (as it does 
not to me,) the uncertainty of a very few places should not 
make us question the proper signification of a word, whose 
sense is determined in so many, wherein it is clear and un- 
questionable. The first place he mentions, is that of the Apos- 
tle Paul himself, Rom. viii. 30. " JVIoreover whom he did pre- 
destinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he 
also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified." 
The reason whereby he pleads that by justified in this place, an 
internal work of inherent holiness in them that are predestinat- 
ed is designed, is this and no other. He says, " It is not likely 
that the holy Apostle in this enumeration of gracious privileges, 
would omit the mention of our sanctification by which we are 
freed from the service of sin, and adorned with true internal 
holiness and righteousness : but this is utterly omitted, if it be 
not comprised under the name and title of being justified ; for 
it is absurd with some, to refer it to the head of glorification." 

Ansir. (1.) The grace of sanctification, whereby our natures 
are spiritually washed, purified and endowed with a principle 
of life, holiness and obedience to God, is a privilege unques- 
tionably great and excellent, and without which none can be 
saved. Of the same nature also is our redemption by the 
blood of Christ. And both these does this Apostle in other 
places without number, declare, commend, and insist upon. 
But that he ought to have introduced the mention of them, or 


either of them in this place seeing he has not done so, I dare 
not judge. 

2. If our sanctification be included or intended in any of the 
privileges here expressed, there is none of them, predestination 
only excepted, but it is more probably to be reduced to, than 
to that of being justified. Indeed in vocation it seems to be 
mcluded expressly. For whereas it is effectual vocation that 
is intended wherein a holy principle of spiritual life, or faith 
itself is communicated to us, our sanctification radically, and 
as the effect in its adequate immediate cause, is contained in it. 
Hence we are said to be " called to be saints ;" Rom. i. 7, which 

'is the same Avith being " sanctified in Christ Jesus." 1 Cor. i. 2. 
And in many other places is sanctification included in vocation. 

3. Whereas our sanctification, in the infusion of a principle 
of spiritual life, and the actings of it to an increase in duties of 
holiness, righteousness and obedience, is that whereby we are 
made meet for glory, and is of the same nature essentially with 
glory itself, whence its advances in us are said to be " from 
glory to glory;" 2 Cor. iii. 18, and glory itself is called the 
'•grace of hfe;" 1 Pet. iii. 7, it is much more properly express- 
ed by our being glorified than by being justified, which is a 
privilege quite of another nature. However it is evident, that 
there is no reason why we should depart from the general use 
and signification of the word, no circumstance in the text com- 
pelling us so to do. 

The next place that he gives up to this signification is, 1 
Cor. vi. 11, " Such were some of you, but ye are washed, but 
ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of our Lord 
Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." That by justification 
here, the infusion of an inherent principle of grace making us 
mherently righteous, is intended, he endeavours to prove by three 
reasons: (1) "Because justification is here ascribed to the Holy 
Ghost, *ye are justified by the Spirit of our God.' But to re- 
new us is the proper work of the Holy Spirit. (2) It is mani- 
fest that by justification, the Apostle signifies some change in 
the Corinthians, whereby they ceased to be what they were 
before. For they were fornicators and drunkards, such as 
could not inherit the kingdom of God, but now were changed, 
whicli proves a real inherent work of grace, to be intended, 
(3) If justification here signify nothing, but to be absolved 
from the punishment of sin, then the reasoning of the Apostle 
will be infirm and frigid. For after he has said that which is 
greater, as heightenirjg of it, he adds the less : for it is more to 


be washed, than merely to be freed from the punishment of 

Answ. 1. All these reasons prove not, that it is the same to 
be sanctified and to be justified, which must be, if that be the 
sense of the latter, which is here pleaded for. But the Apostle 
makes an express distinction between them, and as this author 
observes, proceeds from one to another by an ascent from the 
lesser to the greater. And the infusion of a habit or principle 
of grace, or righteousness evangelical, whereby we are inhe- 
rently righteous, by which he explains our being justified in 
this place, is our sanctification and nothing else. Yea, and 
sanctification is here distinguished from wasning ; " but ye are 
washed, but ye are sanctified ;" so that it peculiarly in this 
place denotes positive habits of grace and holiness. Neither 
can he declare the nature of it, any way different from what 
he would have expressed by being justified. 

2. Justification is ascribed to the Spirit of God, as the prin- 
cipal efficient cause of the application of the grace of God and 
blood of Christ, whereby we are justified, to our souls and con- 
sciences. And he is so also of the operation of tliat faith 
whereby we are justified ; whence, ahhough we are said to be 
justified by him, yet it does not follow that our justification 
consists in the renovation of our natures. 

3. The change and mutation that was made in these Corin- 
thians, so far as it was physical in effects inherent (as such 
there was) the Apostle expressly ascribes to their washing and 
sanctification ; so that there is no need to suppose this change 
to be expressed by their being justified. And in the real change 
asserted, that is, in the renovation of our natures, consists the 
true entire work and nature of onr sanctification. But whereas 
by reason of the vicious habits and practices mentioned, they 
were in a state of condemnation, and such as had no right to 
the kingdom of Heaven, they were by their justification 
changed and transferred out of that state hito another, wherein 
they had peace with God, and right to life eternal. 

4. The third reason proceeds upon a mistake ; namely, that 
to be justified, is only to be freed from the punishment due to 
sin. For it comprises both the non-imputation of sin, and the 
imputation of righteousness, with the privilege of adoption, 
and right to the heavenly inheritance, which are inseparable 
from it. And although it does not appear that the Apostle in 
the enumeration of these privileges, intended a process from 
the less to the greater ; nor is it safe for us to compare the un- 



utterable effects of the grace of God by Christ Jesus, such as 
saiictificatiou and justification are, and to determine which is 
greatest, and which is least ; yet following the conduct of the 
Scripture, and the due consideration of the things themselves, 
we may say that in this life we can be made partakers of no 
greater mercy or privilege, than what consists in our j ustifica- 
tion. And the reader may see from hence, how impossible it 
is to produce any one place wherein the words, justification 
and to justify, signify a real internal work and physical opera- 
tion ; in that this learned man, a person of more than ordinary 
perspicacity, candour and judgment, designing to prove it in- 
sisted on such instances, as give so little countenance to what 
he pretended. He adds, Tit. iii. 5 — 7. " Not by Avorks of 
righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy 
he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of 
the Holy Ghost ; which he shed on us abundantly through 
Jesus Christ our Saviour ; that being justified by his grace, we 
should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal lilie." 
The argument which alone he insists upon to prove, that by 
justification here, an infusion of internal grace is intended, is 
this ; that the Apostle affirming first, " that God saved us, ac- 
cording to his mercy by the washing of regeneration, and re- 
newing of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards affirming that we 
are justified by his grace, he supposes it necessary, that we 
should be regenerate and renewed, that we may be justified ; 
and if so then our justification contains and comprises our 
sanctification also." 

Answer. The plain truth is, the Apostle speaks not one word 
of the necessity of our sanctification, or regeneration, or re- 
novation by the Holy Ghost, antecedently to our justification, 
a supposition whereof contains the whole force of this argu- 
ment. Indeed he assigns our regeneration, renovation, and 
justification, all the means of our salvation, equally to grace 
and mercy, in opposition to any works of our own, which we 
shall afterwards make use of. Nor is there intimated by him, 
any order of precedency, or connexion between the things that 
he mentions, but only between justification and adoption, jus- 
tification having the priority in order of nature ; " that being 
justified by his grace, we should be heirs according to the hope 
of eternal life." All the things he mentions are inseparable 
No man is regenerate or renewed by the Holy Ghost, but 
withal he is justified. No man is justified, but withal he is 
renewed by the Holy Ghost. And they are all of them equally 


of sovereign grace in God, in opposition to any works of right- 
eousness, that we have wrought. And we plead for the free- 
dom of God's grace in sanctification, no less than in justifica- 
tion. But that it is necessary that we should be sanctified that 
we may be justified before God, who justifieth the ungodly, 
the Apostle says not in this place, nor any thing to that pur- 
pose ; neither yet if he did so, would it at all prove that the 
signification of that expression to be justified, is to be sanctified, 
or to have inherent holiness and righteousness wrought in us. 
And these testimonies would not have been produced to prove 
it, wherein these things are so expressly distinguished, but that 
there are none to be found of more force or evidence. 

The last place wherein he grants this signification of the 
word 6ixatou» is Revel, xxii. II, o SixaioibixaMerjtu iti., cpii Justus 
est, justijicetur adhuc ; which place is pleaded by all the 
Romanists. And our author says, there are but few among the 
Protestants who do not acknowledge that the word cannot be 
here used in a forensic sense, but that to be justified, is to go 
on and increase in piety and righteousness. 

Answer. But (1) There is a great objection lies in the way 
of any argument from these words; namely, from the various 
reading of the place. For many ancient copies read not o Stxawj 
bwaiody^ti^ iti; which the Vulgate renders justijicetur adhuc; 
but 6i.xttwaw>jw noi.rt6o.tL sn ; "let him that is righteous, work 
righteousness still," as does the printed copy which now lies 
before me. So it was the copy of the Complutensian edition 
which Stephens commends above all others; and in one more 
ancient copy that he used. So it is in the Syriac and Arabic 
published by Hutterus, and in our own Polyglot. So Cyprian 
reads the words De Bono PatienticB ; Justus autem adhuc jus- 
tiora faciat, similiter et qui sanctus sanctiora. And I doubt 
not but that it is the true reading of the place ; Stxatwei/fu being 
supplied by some to correspond with dyiaa^jjtcj that ensues. 
And this phrase of boxawowriv hoiuv is pecuhar to this Apostle, 
being no where used in the New Testament, (nor it may be in 
any other author) but by him. And he uses it expressly ; 1 
John ii. 29; and iii. 7, where those words, i rtocwv bixaionwr^v dtxaw^ 
hti, plainly contain what is here expressed. (2) To be jus- 
tified, as the word is rendered by the Vulgate, "let him be jus- 
tified more" (as it must be rendered, if the word Stxaiufljjru be 
retained) respects an act of God, which neither in its beginning 
nor continuation is prescribed to us as a duty, nor is capable of 
increase in degrees as we shall show afterwards. (3) Men are 


said to be Stxatot generally from inherent righteousness; and if 
the Apostle had intended justification in tliis place, he would 
not have said o Sixmos but o Sixaitoenj. All which things prefer 
the Complutensian, Syriac, and Arabic, before the vulgar read- 
ing of this place. If the vulgar reading be retained, no more 
can be intended, but that he who is righteous, should so 
proceed in working righteousness, as to secure his justified 
estate to himself, and to manifest it before God and the 

Now whereas the words Stzoiow and Sixmoohm are used thirty- 
six times in the New Testament, these are all the places, 
whereto any exception is put in against their forensic signifi- 
cation ; and how ineffectual these exceptions are, is evident to 
any impartial judge. 

Some other considerations may yet be made use of and 
pleaded to the same purpose. Such is the opposition that is 
made between justification and condemnation; so is it, Isa. 1. 
8,9; Prov. xvii. 15; Rom. v. 16, IS; viii. 33, 34, and in 
sundry other places, as may be observed in the preceding 
enumeration of them. Wherefore as condemnation is not the 
infusing of a habit of wickedness into him that is condemned, 
nor the making of him to be inherently wicked, who was be- 
fore righteous, but the passing a sentence upon a man with 
respect to his wickedness ; no more is justification the change 
of a person from inherent unrighteousness to righteousness, by 
the infusion of a principle of grace, but a sentential declaration 
of him to be righteous. 

Moreover, the thing intended is frequently declared in the 
Scripture by other equivalent terms, which are absolutely ex- 
clusive of any such sense, as the infusion of a habit of right- 
eousness ; so the Apostle expresses it by the " imputation of 
righteousness without works ;" Rom. iv. 6,11; and calls it 
the blessedness, which we have by the pardon of sin, and the 
covering of iniquity in the same place. So it is called " recon- 
ciliation with God ;" Rom. v. 9, 10. To be justified by the 
blood of Christ, is the same with being " reconciled by his 
death." " Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved 
from wrath by him. For if when we were enemies we were 
reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being 
reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." See 2 Cor. v. 20,21. 
Reconciliation is not the infusion of a habit of grace, but the 
effecting of peace and love, by the removal of all orniity and 
causes of offence. To save, and salvation, are. used to the 


same purpose. " He shall save his people from their sins ;" 
Matt. i. 21, is the same with, "by him all that believe are 
justified from all things from which they could not be justified 
ijy the law of Moses," Acts xiii. 39. That of Gal. ii. 16, "We 
have believed that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, 
and not by the works of the law," is the same with Acts xv. 11, 
"But we believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, we shall be saved even as they." Ephes. ii. 8, 9. "By 
grace ye are saved, through faith, and not of works ;" is so to 
be justified. So it is expressed by pardon, or the remission of 
sins, which is the effect of it ; Rom. iv. 5, 6. By receiving the 
atonement; Rom. v. 11, not coming into judgment or condem- 
nation; John V. 24. "Blotting out sins and iniquities;" Isa. 
xliii. 25; xliv, 22; Psa. Ii. 9. Jer. xviii. 23. Acts iii. 19. Cast- 
ing them into the bottom of the sea; Micah vii. 19, and 
sundry other expressions of a like import. The Apostle declar- 
ing it by its effects, says, 6lx(uol xaraatrieTjaovrai 01 Ttox-Koi. "]\Iany 
shall be made righteous," Rom. v. 19. He is made righteous 
bixaio; xaivatatav, who Oil a juridical trial in open court, is ab- 
solved and declared righteous. 

And so it may be observed that all things concerning justifi- 
cation are proposed in the Scripture under a juridical scheme, 
or forensic trial and sentence. As (1) a judgment is supposed 
in it, concerning which, the Psalmist prays that it may not 
proceed on the terms of the law, Psa. cxliii. 2. (2.) The Judge 
is God himself; Isa. 1. 7, 8. Rom. viii. 33. (3) The tribunal 
whereon God sits in judgment, is the throne of grace, Heb. iv. 
16. "Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious 
unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have 
mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of judgment," Isa. 
xxx. IS. (4) A guilty person. This is the sinner, who is 
vnobLxoi rw ©Eld, so guilty of sin, as to be obnoxious to the judg- 
ment of God; ru, dtxMiofiati, toy ©£ov. Rom. iii. 19; i. 32, 
whose mouth is stopped by conviction. (5) Accusers are 
ready to propose and promote the charge against the guilty 
person ; these are the law, John v. 45 ; and conscience, Rom. 
ii. 15; and Satan also. Zee. iii. 2. Rev. xii. 10. (6) The 
charge is adn\itted and drawn up into a handwriting in form 
of law, and is laid before the tribunal of the Judge, in bar, to 
the deliverance of the offender. Col. ii. 14. (7) A plea is pre- 
pared in the gospel for the guilty person. And this is grace, 
through the blood of Christ, the ransom paid, the atonement 
made, the eternal righteousness brought in by the surety of 


the covenant, Rom. iii. 23 — 25. Dan. ix. 24. Eph. i. 7. 
(8) Hereto alone the sinner betakes himself, renouncing all 
other apologies or defences whatever. Psa. cxxx. 2, 3 ; cxliii. 
2. Job ix. 2, 3; xlii. 5 — 7. Luke xviii. 13. Rom. iii, 24, 25; 
V. 11 — 19; viii. 1 — 3, 32, 33. Isa, liii. 5, 6. Heb. ix, 13—15; 
X, 1 — 13, 1 Pet, ii. 24, 1 John i, 7. Other plea for a sinner 
before God there is none. He who knows God and himself, 
will not provide or betake himself to any other. Nor will he 
as I suppose trust to any other defence, were he sure of all the 
angels in Heaven to plead for him. (9) To make this plea 
effectual we have an advocate with the Father, and he pleads 
his own propitiation for us. 1 John ii. 1,2. (10) The sentence 
hereon is absolution, on account of the ransom, blood or sacri- 
fice and righteousness of Christ ; with acceptation into favour, 
as persons approved of God. Job xxxiii. 24. Psa, xxxii. 1, 2. 
Rom, iii, 23—25 ; viii, 1, 33, 34. 2 Cor, v, 21. Gal, iii, 13, 14. 

Of what use the declaration of this process in the justification 
of a sinner may be, has been in some measure before declared. 
And if many seriously considered, that all these things concur 
and are required to the justification of every one that shall be 
saved, it may be they would not have such slight thoughts of 
sin, and the way of deliverance from the guilt of it, as they 
seem to have. P'rom this consideration did the apostle learn 
that " terror of the Lord," which made him so earnest with 
men to seek after reconciliation; 2 Cor, v. 10, 11. 

I had not so long insisted on the signification of the words 
in the Scripture, but that a right understanding of it, not only 
excludes the pretences of the Romanists about the infusion of 
a habit of charity, from being the formal cause of our justifi- 
cation before God, but may also give occasion to some to take 
advice, into what place or consideration they can dispose their 
own personal inherent righteousness in their justification be- 
fore him. 




Before we inquire immediately into the nature and causes of 
justification, there are some things yet previously to be consider- 
ed, that we may prevent all ambiguity and misunderstanding, 
about the subject to be treated of. I say, therefore, that the 
evangelical justification which alone we plead about, is but 
one, and is at once completed. About any other justification 
before God but one, we will not contend with any. Those 
who can find out another, may as they please ascribe what 
they will to it, or ascribe it to what they will. Let us there- 
fore consider what is offered of this nature. 

Those of the Roman Church ground their whole doctrine of 
justification upon a distinction of a double justification, which 
they call the first and second. The first justification, they 
say, is the infusion or the communication to us of an inherent 
principle or habit of grace or charity. Hereby they say origi- 
nal sin is extinguished, and all the habits of sin are expelled. 
This justification they say is by faith, the obedience and satis- 
faction of Christ being the only meritorious cause thereof. Only 
they dispute many things about preparations for it, and dispo- 
sitions to it. Under those terms the Council of Trent included 
the doctrine of the schoolmen about meritum de congruo, as 
joth Hosius and Andradius confess in the defence of that coun- 
cil. And as they are explained, they come much to one ; how- 
ever the council warily avoided the name of merit, with re- 
spect to this their first justification. And the use of faith herein, 
(which with them is no more but a general assent to divine 
revelation) is to bear the principal part in these preparations. 
So that to be justified by faith according to them, is to have the 
mind prepared by this kind of believing to receive graticun 
gratum facientem, a habit of grace expelling sin, and making 
us acceptable to God. For upon this believing with those other 
duties of contrition and repentance, which must accompany it, 
it is meet and congruous to divine wisdom, goodness, and faith- 
fulness to give us that grace whereby we are justified. And 
this according to them i^ that justification, wherdof the Apostle 
Paul treats in his Epistles, from the procurement whereof he 


excludes all the works of the law. The second justification is 
an etfect or consequent hereof. And the proper formal cause 
thereof is good works, proceeding from this principle of grace 
and love. Hence are they the righteousness wherewith be- 
liex'^ers are righteous before God, whereby they merit eternal 
life. The righteousness of works they call it, and suppose it 
taught by the Apostle James. This they constantly atfirm to 
make us juslos ex injustis, (from being unrighteous to be right- 
eous) wherein they are followed by others. For this is the 
way that most of them take to salve the seeming repugnancy 
between the Apostle Paul and James. Paul they say treats 
of the first justification only, whence he excludes all works, 
for it is by faith in the manner before described. But James 
treats of the second justification, which is by good works. So 
Bellarmine lib. 2, cap. 16, and lib. 4, cap. 18. And it is the ex- 
press determination of those at Trent. Sess. 6, cap. 10. This 
distinction was coined for no other end, but to bring in confu- 
sion into the whole doctrine of the gospel. Justification through 
the free grace of God by faith in the blood of Christ is evacu- 
ated by it. Sanctification is turned into a justification, and 
corrupted by making the fruits of it meritorious. The whole 
nature of evangelical justification, consisting in the gratuitous 
pardon of sin and the imputation of righteousness, as the 
Apostle expressly affirms, and the declaration of a believing 
sinner to be righteous thereon, as the word alone signifies, is 
utterly defeated by it. 

Howbeit others have embraced this distinction also, though 
not absolutely in their sense. So do the Socinians. Yea it 
must be allowed in some sense by all that hold our inherent 
righteousness to be the cause of or to have any influence upon 
our justification before God. For they allow of a justification 
which in order of nature is antecedent to works truly gracious 
and evangelical. But consequential to such works, there is a 
justification ditfering at least in degree, if not in nature and 
kind, upon the difference of its formal cause, which is our new 
obedience, from the former. But they mostly say, it is only the 
continuation of our justification and the increase of it as to de- 
grees, that they intend by it. And if they may be allowed to 
turn sanctification into justification, and to make a progress 
therein, or an increase thereof, either in the root or fruit, to be 
a new justification, they may make twenty justifications as 
well as two for aught I know. For therein "the inward man 
is renewed day by day," 2 Cor. iv. 16 ; and believers "go from 


Strength to strength," are "changed from gloiy to glory;" 2 
Cor. iii. 18, by the addition of one grace to another in their ex- 
ercise, 2 Pet. i. 5-8, and increasing with the increase of God, 
Col. ii. 19, do in all things grow up into him who is the head, 
Ephes. iv. 15. And if their justification consist herein, they 
are justified anew every day. I shall therefore do these two 
things : (1) Show that this distinction is both unscriptural and 
irrational. (2) Declare what is the continuation of our justifi- 
cation, and whereon it depends. 

Justification by faith in the blood of Christ, may be consider- 
ed either as to the nature and essence of it, or as to its manifes- 
tation and declaration. The manifestation of it is twofold. (1) 
Initial in this life. (2) Solemn and complete at the day of 
judgment, whereof we shall treat afterwards. The manifesta- 
tioh of it in this life respects either the souls and consciences of 
them that are justified, or others, that is, the church and the 
world. And each of these have the name of justification as- 
signed to them, though our real justification before God be al- 
ways one and the same. But a man may be really justified 
before God, and yet not have the evidence or assurance of it 
in his own mind. Wherefore that evidence or assurance is not 
of the nature or essence of that faith whereby we are justified, 
nor does it necessarily accompany our justification. But this 
manifestation of a man's own justification to himself, although 
it depend on many especial causes, which are not necessary 
to his justification absolutely before God, is not a second justi- 
fication when it is attained ; but only the application of the 
former to his conscience by the Holy Ghost. There is also a 
manifestation of it with respect to others, which in like man- 
ner depends on other causes than does our justification before 
God absolutely ; yet is it not a second justification. For it de- 
pends wholly on the visible effects of that faith whereby we 
are justified, as the Apostle James instructs us; yet is it only 
our single justification before God, evidenced and declared to 
his glory, the benefit of others, and increase of our own reward. 

There is also a two-fold justification before God mentioned 
in the Scripture. (1) By the works of the law, Rom. ii. l.S; 
X. 5. Matt. xix. 15 — 19. Hereto is required an absolute con- 
formity to the whole law of God in our natures, all the faculties 
of our souls, all the principles of our moral operations, with 
perfect actual obedience to all its commands, in all instances 
of duty, both for matter and manner. For he is " cursed who 
continueth not in all things that are written in the law to do 



them." And he that breaks any one commandment is guilty 
of the breach of the whole law. Hence the Apostle concludes, 
that none can be justified by the law, because all have sinned. 
(2) There is a justification by grace through faith in the blood 
of Christ, whereof we treat. And these ways of justification 
are contrary, proceeding on terms directly contradictory, and 
cannot be made consistent with, or subservient one to the 
other. But as we shall manifest afterwards, the confounding 
of them both, by mixing them together, is that which is aimed 
at in this distinction of a first and second justification. But 
whatever respects it may have, that justification which we 
have before God, in his sight through Jesus Christ, is but one, 
and at once full and complete, and this distinction is a vain 
and fond invention : for 

1, As it is explained by the Papists it is exceedingly dero- 
gatory to the merit of Christ. For it leaves it no effect towards 
us, but only the infusion of a habit of charity. When that is 
done, all that remains with respect to our salvation is to be 
wrought by ourselves. Christ has only merited the first grace 
for us, that we therewith and thereby may merit life eternal. 
The merit of Christ being confined in its effect to the first jus- 
tification, it has no immediate influence upon any grace, privi- 
lege, mercy, or glory that follows thereon ; but they are all 
effects of that second justification which is purely by works. 
But this is openly contrary to the whole tenor of the Scripture. 
For although there be an order of God's appointment, wherein 
we are to be made partakers of evangelical privileges in grace 
and glory, one before another, yet are they all of them the 
immediate effects of the death and obedience of Christ ; who 
"hath obtained for us eternal redemption," Heb. ix. 12, and 
is " the author of eternal salvation to all that do obey him," 
Heb. V. 9. " Having by one offering for ever perfected them 
that are sanctified." And those who allow of a secondary, if 
not of a second justification by our own inherent personal 
righteousness, are also guilty hereof, though not in the same 
degree with them. For whereas they ascribe to it, our acquittal 
from all charge of sin after the first justification, and a right- 
eousness accepted in judgment, in the judgment of God, as if 
it were complete and perfect, whereon depends our final abso- 
lution and reward, it is evident that the immediate efficacy of 
the satisfaction and merit of Christ, has its bounds assigned to 
it in the first justification ; which whether it be taught in the 
Scripture or no, we shall afterwards inquire. 


2. More by this distinction is ascribed to ourselves working 
by virtue of inherent grace, as to the merit and procurement of 
spiritual and eternal good, than to the blood of Christ, For 
that only procures the first grace and justification for us. 
Thereof alone it is the meritorious cause ; or as others ex- 
press it, we are made partakers of the effects of it in the pardon 
of sins past. But by virtue of this grace, we do ourselves 
obtain, procure or merit another, a second, a complete justifi- 
cation, the continuance of the favour of God, and all the fruits 
ot it, with life eternal and glory. So do our works at least 
perfect and complete the merit of Christ, without which it is 
imperfect. And those who assign the continuation of our jus- 
tification wherein all the effects of divine favour and grace are 
contained to our own personal righteousness, as also final jus- 
lification before God as the pleadable cause of it, do follow 
tlieir steps to the best of my understanding. But such things 
as these, may be disputed ; in debates of which kind it is in- 
credible almost what influence on the minds of men, traditions, 
prejudices, subtlety of invention and arguing obtain, to divert 
them from real thoughts of the things about which they con- 
tend, with respect to themselves and their own condition. If 
l)y any means such persons can be called home to themselves, 
and find leisure to think how, and by what means they shall 
come to appear before the high God, to be freed from the sen- 
tence of the law, and the curse due to sin, to have a pleadable 
righteousness at the judgment seat of God before which they 
stand, especially if a real sense of these things be implanted 
in their minds by the convincing power of the Holy Ghost, all 
their subtile arguments and pleas for the mighty efficacy of 
their own personal righteousness, will sink in their minds like 
water at the return of the tide, and leave nothing but mud and 
defilement behind them. 

.3. This distinction of two justifications as used and im- 
proved by those of the Roman church, leaves us indeed no 
justification at all. Something there is, in the branches of it, 
of sanctification, but of justification nothing at all. Their first 
justification in the infusion of a habit or principle of grace, to 
the expulsion of all habits of sin, is sanctification, and nothing 
else. And we never contended that our justification in such 
a sense, if any will take it in such a sense, consists in the im- 
putation of the righteousness of Christ. And this justification^ 
if any will needs call it so, is capable of degrees, both of in- 
crease in itself, and of exercise in its fruits, as was newly 


declared. Bat not only to call this our own justification, with 
a i^Giieral respect to the notion of the word, as a making of us 
personally and inherently righteous, but to plead that this is the 
justification through faith in the blood of Christ, declared in 
the Scripture, is to exclude the only true evangelical justifica- 
tion from any place in religion. The second branch of the 
distinction has much in it like justification by the law, but 
nothing of that which is declared in the gospel. So that this 
distinction instead of coining us two justifications, according 
to the gospel, has left us none at all. For 

4. There is no countenance given to this distinction in the 
Scripture. There is indeed mention therein, as we observed 
before, of a double justification ; the one by the law, the other 
according to the gospel. Bat that either of these should on any 
account be sub-distinguished into a first and second of the 
same kind, that is either according to the law or the gospel, 
there is nothing in tlie Scriptare to intimate. For this second 
justification is no way applicable to what the Apostle James 
discourses on that subject. He treats of justification; but 
speaks not one word of an increase of it, or addition to it, of a 
first or second. Besides he speaks expressly of him that boasts 
of faith, which being without works is a dead faith. But he 
who has the first justification, by the confession of our adver- 
saries, has a true living faith, formed and enlivened by charity. 
And he uses the same testimony concerning the justification of 
Abraham that Paul does, and therefore does not intend another 
but the same, though in a diverse respect. Nor does any be- 
liever learn the least of it in his own experience ; nor without 
a design to serve a further turn, would it ever have entered 
the minds of sober men on the reading of the Scripture. And 
it is the bane of spiritual truth, for men in the pretended de- 
claration of it, to coin arbitrary distinctions without Scripture 
groiuid for them, and obtrude them as belonging to the doc- 
trine they treat of. They serve to no other end or purpose, but 
only to lead the minds of men from the substance of what 
they ought to attend to, and to engage all sorts of persons in 
endless strifes and contentions. If the authors of this distinc- 
tion would but go over the places in the Scripture, where men- 
tion is made of our justification before God, and make a dis- 
tribution of them into the respective parts of their distinction, 
they would quickly find themselves at an utter loss. 

5. There is that in the Scripture ascribed to our first justifica- 
tion, if they will needs call it so, which leaves no room for 


their second feigned justification. For the sole foundation and 
pretence of tliis distinction, is a denial of those things to belong 
to our justification by the blood of Christ, which the Scripture 
expressly assigns to it. Let us take out some instances of what 
belongs to the first, and we shall quickly see how little it is, 
yea, that there is nothing left for the pretended second justifi- 
cation. For (1) therein do we receive the complete pardon and 
forgiveness of our sins, Rom. iv. 4, 6, 7 ; Ephes. i. 7 ; iv. 32 ; 
Acts xxvi. 18. (2) Thereby are we "made righteous," Rom. 
v. 19; X. 4. And (3) are freed from •' condemnation, judg- 
ment, and death." John iii, 16, 19; v. 25; Rom. viii. 1. (4) 
Are reconciled to God. Rom. v. 9, 10 ; 2 Cor. v, 21, 22. And 

(5) have peace with him, and access into the favour wherein 
we stand by grace, with the advantages and consolations that 
depend thereon in a sejise of his love. Rom. v. 1 — 5. And 

(6) we have adoption therewith and all its privileges. John 
i. 12. And in particular (7) a right and title to the whole in- 
heritance of glory. Acts xxvi. 18; Rom. viii. 17. And (8) 
hereon eternal life follows. Rom. viii. 30 ; vi. 23. Which 
things will be again immediately spoken to upon another oc- 
casion. And if there be any thing now left for their second 
justification to do as such, let them take it as their own; these 
things are all of them ours, or belong to that one justification 
wiiich we assert. Wherefore it is evident that either the first 
justification overthrows the second, rendering it needless ; or 
the second destroys the first, by taking away what essentially 
belongs to it; we must therefore part with the one or the other, 
for consistent they are not. But that which gives countenance 
to the fiction and artifice of this distinction, and a great many 
more, is a dislike of the doctrine of the grace of God, and jus- 
tification from thence by faith in the blood of Christ, which 
some endeavour hereby to send out of the way upon a pre- 
tended sleeveless errand, whilst they dress up their own right- 
eousness in its robes, and exalt it into the room and dignity 

But there seems to be more of reality and difficulty in what 
is pleaded concerning the continuation of our justification. 
For those that are freely justified, are continued in that state 
until they are glorified. By justification they are really chang- 
ed into a new spiritual state and condition, and have a new 
relation given them to God and Christ, to the law and the gos- 
pel. And it is inquired what it is whereon their continuation 
in this state, on their part, depends ; or what is required of them 



that they may be justified to the end. And this as some say is 
not laith alone, but also the works of sincere obedience. And 
none can deny but that tliey are required of all them that are 
justified, whilst they continue in a state of justification on this 
side glory, whicli next and immediately ensues thereto. But 
whether upon our justification at first before God, faith be 
immediately dismissed from its place and office, and its work 
he given over to works, so as that the continuation of our jus- 
tification should depend on our own personal obedience, and 
not on the renewed application of faith to Christ and liis 
righteousness, is worth our inquiry. Only I desire the reader 
to observe that whereas the necessity of owning a personal 
obedience in justified persons, is on all hands absolutely agreed, 
the seeming difference that is herein, concerns not the substance 
of the doctrine of justification, but the manner of expressing 
our conceptions concerning the order of the disposition of God's 
grace, and our own duty, to edification, wherein I shall use 
my own liberty, as it is meet others should do theirs. And I 
shall offer my thoughts hereon in the ensuing observations. 

1. Justification is such a work as is at once completed in all 
the causes, and the whole effect of it, though not as to the full 
possession of all that it gives right and title to. For (1) All 
our sins past, present, and to come, were at once imputed to 
and laid upon Jesus Christ; in what sense, we shall afterwards 
inquire. " He was wounded for our transgressions, he was 
bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was 
upon him, and with his stripes are we healed. All we like 
sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own 
way, and the Lord hath made to meet on him the iniquities of 
us all," Isa. liii. 6, 7. " Who his own self bare our sins in his 
own body on the tree." 1 Pet. ii. 24. The assertions being 
indefinite without exception or limitation, are equivalent to uni- 
versals. All our sins were on him, he bare them all at once, 
and therefore once died for all. (2) He did therefore at once 
" finish transgression, made an end of sin, made reconciliation 
for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness." Dan. 
ix. 24. At once he expiated all our sins ; for " by himself he 
purged our sins, and then sat down at the right hand of the 
majesty on high." Heb. i. 3. And we are sanctified or dedi- 
cated to God through the " offering of the body of Christ once 
for all ; for by one offering he has perfected" (consummated, 
completed as to their spiritual state) " them that are sanctified," 
Heb. x. 10, 14. He never will do more than he has actually 


done already for the expiation of all our sins from first to last ; 
for " there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin." I do not say 
that hereupon our justification is complete, but only that the 
meritorious procuring cause of it was at once completed, and 
is never to be renewed or repeated any more ; all the inquiry 
is concerning the renewed application of it to our souls and 
consciences, whether that be by faith alone, or by the works of 
righteousness which we do. (3) By our actual believing with 
justifying faith, believing on Christ, or his name, we do receive 
him, and thereby on our first justification become the sons of 
God, John i. 12. That is, joint heirs with Christ, and heirs of 
God, Rom. viii. 17. Hereby we have a right to, and an inter- 
est in all the benefits of his mediation ; which is to be at once 
completely justified. " For in him we are complete," Col. ii. 
1 0. " For by the faith that is in him we receive the forgiveness 
of sins, and a lot or inheritance among all them that are sanc- 
tified," Acts xxvi. 18, being immediately "justified from all 
things from which we could not be justified by the law," Acts 
xiii. 39 ; yea God thereon " blesseth us with all spiritual bless- 
ings in heavenly things in Christ," Ephes. i. 3. All these 
things are absolutely inseparable from our first believing in 
him, and therefore our justification is at once complete. In 
particular (4) on our believing, all our sins are forgiven, " He 
hath quickened you together with him, having forgiven you 
all trespasses," Col. ii. 13 — 15. "For in him we have re- 
demption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, 
according to the riches of his grace," Ephes. i. 7; which one 
place obviates all the petulant exceptions of some against 
the consistency of the free grace of God in the pardon of 
sins, and the satisfaction of Christ in the procurement thereof. 

(5) There is hereon nothing to be laid to the charge of them 
that are so justified. For " he that believeth hath everlasting 
life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from 
death unto life," John v. 24. And " who shall lay any thing 
unto the charge of God's elect ? it is God that justifieth, it is 
Christ that died," Rom. viii. 33, 34 ; and there " is no con- 
demnation unto them that are in Christ Jesus." For " being 
justified by faith we have peace with God," Rom. v. 1. And 

(6) we have that blessedness hereon whereof in this life we 
are capable, Rom. iv. 5, 6. From all which it appears that our 
justification is at once complete. And (7) it must be so or no 
man can be justified in this world. For no time can be assigned, 
nor measure of obedience be limited, whereon it may be sup- 


posed that any one comes to be justified before God, who is 
not so on his first beheving. For the Scripture no where as- 
signs any such time or measure. And to say that no man is 
completely justified in the sight of God in this life, is at once to 
overthrow all that is taught in the Scriptures concerning justi- 
fication, and therewith all peace with God and comfort of be- 
lievers. But a man acquitted upon his legal trial, is at once 
discharged of all that the law has against him. 

2. Upon this complete justification, believers are obliged to 
universal obedience to God. The law is not abolished but es- 
tablished by faith. It is neither abrogated nor dispensed with 
by such an interpretation as should take off its obligation in 
any thing that it requires, nor as to the degree and manner 
Vv^herein it requires it Nor is it possible it should be so. For 
it is nothing but the rule of that obedience which the nature 
of God and man makes necessary from the one to the other. 
And that is an antinomianism of the worst sort, and most de- 
rogatory to the law of God, which affirms it to be divested 
of its power, to oblige to perfect obedience, so that what is 
not so, shall (as it were in despite of the law) be accepted as 
if it were so, to the end for which the law requires it. There 
is no medium, but that either the law is utterly abolished, and 
so there is no sin, for " where there is no law, there is no trans- 
gression ;" or it must be allowed to require the same obedience 
that it did at its first institution ; and to the same degree. 
Neither is it in the power of any man living to keep his con- 
science from judging and condemning that, whatever it be, 
wherein he is convinced that he comes short of the perfection 
of the law. Wherefore, 

3. The commanding power of the law in positive precepts 
and prohibitions which justified persons are subject to, makes 
and constitutes all their inconformities to it to be no less truly 
and properly sins in their own nature, than they would be if 
their persons were obnoxious to the curse of it. This they are 
not, nor can be ; for to be obnoxious to the curse of the law, 
and to be justified, are contradictory ; but to. be subject to the 
commands of the law, and to be justified are not so. But it is 
a subjection to the commanding power of the law, and not 
an obnoxiousness to the curse of the law, that constitutes 
the nature of sin in its transgression. Wherefore that com- 
plete justification which is at once, though it dissolve the 
obligation on the sinner to punishment by the curse of the law, 
yet does it not annihilate the commanding authority of the law, 


to them that are justified, that what is sin in otliers, should 
not be so in them. See Rom. viii. 1, 33, 34. 

Hence in the first justification of beheving sinners, all future 
sins are remitted as to any actual obligation to the curse of the 
law, unless they should fall into such sins as should ipso facto, 
forfeit their justified estate, and transfer them from the cove- 
nant of grace, to the covenant of works, which we believe that 
God in his faithfulness will preserve them from. And although 
sin cannot be actually pardoned before it be actually commit- 
ted ; yet may the obligation to the curse of the law be virtually 
taken away from such sins in justified persons as are consist- 
ent with a justified estate, or the terms of the covenant of 
grace, antecedently to their actual commission. God at once 
in this sense " forgiveth all their iniquities, and healeth all their 
diseases, redeemeth their life from destruction, and crowneth 
them with loving-kindness and tender mercies," Psa. ciii. 2, 3. 
Future sins are not so pardoned as that when they are committed, 
they should be no sins, which cannot be, unless the command- 
ing power of the law be abrogated. But their respect to the 
curse of the law, or their power to oblige the justified person 
thereto, is taken away. 

Still there abides the true nature of sin in every inconformity 
to or transgression of the law in justified persons, which stands 
in need of daily actual pardon, for "there is no man that liveth 
and sinneth not," "and if we say that we have no sin, we do 
but deceive ourselves." None are more sensible of the guilt of 
sin, none are more troubled for it, none are more earnest in 
supplications for the pardon of it, than justified persons. For 
this is the effect of the sacrifice of Christ applied to the souls 
of believers, as the Apostle declares, Heb. x. 1-4, 10, 14, tiiat 
it takes away conscience, condemning the sinner for sin, with 
respect to the curse of the law ; but it does not take away con- 
science, condemning sin in the sinner, which on all considera- 
tions of God and themselves, of the law and the gospel, re- 
quires repentance on the part of the sinner, and actual pardon 
on the part of God. 

Whereas therefore one essential part of justification consists 
in the pardon of our sins, and sins cannot be actually pardoned 
before they are actually committed, our present inquiry is, 
whereon the continuation of our justification depends, notwith- 
standing the intervention of sin after we are justified, whereby 
snch sins are actually pardoned, and our persons are continued 
in a state of acceptance with God, and have their right to life 


and glory uninterrupted. Justification is at once complete, in 
the imputation of a perfect righteousness, the grant of a right 
and title to the heavenly inheritance, the actual pardon of all 
past sins, and the virtual pardon of future sins, but how or by 
what means, on what terms and conditions this state is contin- 
ued to those who are once justified, whereby their righteous- 
ness is everlasting, their title to life and glory indefeasible, and 
all their sins are actually pardoned, is to be inquired. 

For answer to this inquiry, I say (1) "it is God that justifi- 
eth," and therefore the continuation of our justification is his 
act also. And this on his part depends on " the immutability 
of his counsel," the unchangeableness of the everlasting cove- 
nant, which is " ordered in all things and sure," the faithful- 
ness of his promises, the efficacy of his grace, his complacency 
in the propitiation of Christ, with the power of his intercession, 
and the irrevocable grant of the Holy Ghost to them that be- 
lieve ; which things are not of our present inquiry. 

2. Some say that on our part the continuation of this state 
of our justification, depends on the condition of good works, 
that is, that they are of the same consideration and use with 
faith itself herein. In our justification itself tliere is, they will 
grant, somewhat peculiar to faith ; but as to the continuation 
of our justification, faith and works have the same influence 
upon it. Yea, some seem to ascribe it distinctly to works in 
an especial manner, with this only proviso, that they be done 
in faith. For my part I cannot understand that the contiiuia- 
tion of our justification has any other dependencies, than has 
our justification itself. As faith alone is required to the one, 
so faith alone is required to the other, although its operations 
and effects in the discharge of its duty and office in justification, 
and the continuation of it are diverse, nor can it otherwise be. 
To clear this assertion, two things are to be observed. 

1. That the continuation of our justification is the continua- 
tion of the imputation of righteousness and the pardon of sins. 
I do still suppose the imputation of righteousness to concur to 
our justification, although we have not yet examined what 
righteousness it is that is imputed. But that God in our justi- 
fication imputes righteousness to us, is so expressly atiirmed by 
the Apostle, that it must not be called in question. I^ow the 
first act of God in the imputation of righteousness cannot be 
repeated. And the actual pardon of sin after justification, is 
an effect and consequence of that imputation of righteousness. 
If any man sin, there is a propitiation ; deliver liim, I have 


found a ransom. Wherefore unto this actual pardon, there is 
nothing required, but the appUcationof that righteousness which 
is the cause of it : and tliis is done by faith only. 

2. The continuation of our justification, is before God or in 
the sight of God, no less than our absolute justification is. We 
speak not of the sense and evidence of it to our own souls to 
peace with God ; nor of the evidencing and manifestation of it 
to others by its efl^ects ; but of the continuance of it in the sight 
of God. Whatever therefore is the means, condition, or cause 
hereof, is pleadable before God, and ought to be pleaded to 
that purpose. So then the inquiry is. 

What it is, that, when a justified person is guilty of sin (as 
guilty he is more or less every day) and his conscience is 
pressed with a sense thereof, as that only thing which can 
endanger or intercept his justified estate, his favour with God, 
and title to glory, he betakes himself to, or ought so to do, for 
the continuance of his-state, and pardon of his sins; what he 
pleads to that purpose, and what is available thereto. That 
this is not his own obedience, his personal righteousness, or 
fulfilling the condition of the new covenant, is evident from (1) 
the experience of believers themselves ; (2) the testimony of 
Scripture, and (3) the example of those whose cases are re- 
corded therein. 

1. Let the experience of those that believe be inquired into ; 
for their consciences are continually exercised herein. What 
is it that they betake themselves to, what is it that they plead 
with God, for the co)itinuance of the pardon of their sins, and 
the acceptance of their persons before him ? Is it any thing 
but sovereign grace and mercy, through the blood of Christ ? 
Are not all the arguments which they plead to this end, taken 
from the topics of the name of God, his mercy, grace, faithful- 
ness, tender compassion, covenant and promises, all manifested, 
and exercised in and through the Lord Christ and his mediation 
alone ? Do they not herein place their only trust and confi- 
dence for this end, that their sins may be pardoned, and their 
persons, though every way unworthy in themselves, be accepted 
with God ? Does any other thought enter into their hearts ? 
Do they plead their own righteousness, obedience, and duties 
to this purpose ? Do they leave the prayer of the Publican, 
and betake themselves to that of the Pharisee ? And is it not 
of faith alone, which is that grace whereby they apply them- 
selves to the mercy or grace of God through the mediation of 
Christ ? It is true that faith herein, works and acts itself in 


and by godly sorrow, repentance, hnmiliation, self-judging, and 
abhorrence, fervency in prayer and supplications, with an 
humble waiting for an answer of peace from God, with engage-, 
ments to renewed obedience. But it is faith alone that makes 
applications to grace in the blood of Christ, for the contiinia- 
tion of our justified estate, expressing itself in those other ways 
and eftects mentioned, from none of which a believing soul ex- 
pects the mercy aimed at. 

2. The Scripture expressly declares this to be the only way 
of the continua^on of our justification. 1 John ii. 1, 2. "These 
things write I unto yon, that ye sin not. And if any man 
sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the 
righteous ; and he is the propitiation for our sins." It is 
required of those that are justified, that they sin not; it is their 
duty not to sin ; but yet it is not so required of them, as that 
if in any thing they fail of their duty, they should immediately 
lose the privilege of their justification. Wherefore on a sup- 
position of sin, " if any man sin," as " there is no man that 
liveth and sinneth not," what way is prescribed for such per- 
sons to take, what are they to apply themselves to, that their 
sin may be pardoned, and their acceptance with God con- 
tinued; that is, for the continuation of their justification? The 
course in this case directed to by the apostle, is none other but 
the application of our souls by faith to the Lord Christ, as our 
advocate with the Father, on the account of the propitiation 
that he has made for our sins. Under the consideration of this 
double act of his sacerdotal office, his oblation and intercession, 
he is the object of our faith in our absolute justification, and 
so he is as to the continuation of it. So our whole progress in 
our justified estate in all the degrees of it is ascribed to faith 

It is no part of our inquiry, what God requires of them that 
are justified. There is no grace, no duty, for the substance of 
them, nor for the manner of their performance, that are re- 
quired either by the law or the gospel, but they are obliged to 
them. Where they are omitted, we acknowledge that the 
guilt of shi is contracted, and that attended with such aggra- 
vations, as some will not own or allow to be confessed to God 
himself. Hence in particular, the faith and grace of believers 
constantly and deeply exercise themselves in godly sorrow, 
repentance, humiliation for sin, and confession of it before God, 
upon their apprehensions of its guilt. And these duties are so 
far necessary to the continuation of our justification, as that a 


justified estate cannot consist with the sins and vices that are 
opposite to them. So the apostle aflirms, that " if we Uve after 
the flesh we shall die." Rom. viii. 13. He that does not care- 
fully avoid falling into the fire or water, or other things im- 
mediately destructive of life natural, cannot live. But these 
are not the things whereon life depends. Nor have the best 
of our duties any other respect to the continuation of our jus- 
tification, but only as in them we are preserved from tliose 
things which are contrary to it, and destructive of it. But the 
sole question is upon what the continuation of our justification 
depends, not concerning what duties are required of us, in the 
way of .our obedience. If this be that which is intended in 
this position, the continuation of our justification depends on 
our own obedience and good works, or that our own obedience 
and good works are the condition of the continuation of our 
justification, namely, that God indispensably requires good 
works and obedience in all that are justified, so that a justi- 
fied estate is inconsistent with the neglect of them ; it is readily 
granted, and I shall never contend with any about the way 
whereby they choose to express the conceptions of their minds. 
But if it be inquired what it is whereby we immediately con- 
cur in a way of duty to the continuation of our justified estate, 
that is, the pardon of our sins and acceptance with God, we 
say it is faith alone. For " the just shall live by faith." Rom. 
i. 17. And as the apostle applies this divine testimony to 
prove our first or absolute justification to be by faith alone ; 
so does he also apply it to the continuation of our justification, 
as that which is by the same means only. Heb. x. 38, 39. 
"Now the just shall live by faith : but if any man draw back, 
my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of 
them that draw back unto perdition : but of them that believe 
to the saving of the soul." The drawing back to perdition 
includes the loss of a justified estate really so or in profession. 
In opposition thereto the apostle places believing to the saving 
of the soul ; that is, to the continuation of justification to the 
end. And herein it is, that " the just live by faith," and the 
loss of this life can only be by unbelief. So " the life which 
we now live in the flesh, is by the faith of the Son of God, 
who loved us and gave himself for us." Gal. ii. 20. The life 
which we now lead in the flesh, is the continuation of our 
justification, a life of righteousness and acceptance with God, 
in opposition to a life by the works of the law, as the next 



words declare, verse 21. "I do not frustrate the grace of God; 
for if righteousness came by the law, then is Christ dead in 
vain;" and this life is by faith in Christ, as he "loved us and 
gave himself for us," that is, as he was a propitiation for our 
sins. This then is the only way, means, and cause on our part 
of the preservation of this life, of the continuance of our justi- 
fication ; and herein are we '' kept by the power of God 
through faith unto salvation." Again, if the continuation of 
our justification depends on our own works of obedience, then 
is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us only with respect 
to our justification at first, or our first justification as some 
speak. And this indeed is the doctrine of the Roman school. 
They teach that the righteousness of Christ is so far imputed 
to us, that on the account thereof God gives us justifying 
grace, and thereby the remission of sin in their sense, whence 
they allow it the meritorious cause of our justification. But 
on a supposition thereof, or the reception of that grace, we are 
continued to be justified before God by the works we perform 
by virtue of that grace received. And though some of them, 
as Vasquez, rise so high as to affirm, that this grace and the 
v/orks of it, need no further respect to the righteousness of 
Christ, to deserve our second justification and life eternal ; yet 
many of them affirm that it is still from the consideration of 
the merit of Christ that they are so meritorious. And the 
same, for the substance of it, is the judgment of some of them, 
who affirm the continuation of our justification to depend on 
our own works, setting aside that ambiguous term of 7nerit. 
For it is on the account of the righteousness of Christ, they 
say. that our own works, or imperfect obedience, are so accept- 
ed with God, as that the continuation of our justification de- 
pends thereon. But the apostle gives us another account 
hereof Rom. v. 1 — 3. For he distinguishes three things; (1) 
Our access into the grace of God. (2) Our standing in that grace. 
(3) Our glorying in that station against all opposition. By the 
first he expresses our absolute justification ; by the second our 
continuation in the state whereinto we are admitted by it; and 
by the third, the assurance of that continuation, notwithstand- 
ing all the oppositions we meet with. And all these he ascribes 
equally to faith, without the intermixture of any other cause 
or condition. • And other places, expressly to the same purpose 
might be pleaded. 

3. The examples of them that believed and were justified 


which are recorded in the Scripture, all bear witness to the 
same truth. The continuation of the justification of Abraham 
before God, is declared to have been by faith only ; Rom. iv. 3. 
For the instance of his justification given by the Apostle from 
Gen. XV. 6, was long after he was justified absolutely. And if 
our first justification and the continuation of it, did not depend 
absolutely on the same cause, the instance of the one could not 
be produced for a proof of the way and means of the other, as 
here they are. And David, when a justified believer, not only 
places the blessedness of man in the free remission of sins, in 
opposition to his own works in general ; Rom. iv. 6, 7, but in 
his own particular case ascribes the continuation of his justifi- 
cation and acceptance before God, to grace, mercy, and forgive- 
ness alone, which are no otherwise received but by faith. Psa. 
cxxx. 3 — 5 ; cxliii. 2. All other works and duties of obedience 
accompany faith in the continuation of our justified estate, as 
necessary etfects and fruits of it, but not as causes, means, or 
conditions whereon that effect is suspended. It is patient wait- 
ing by faith, that brings in the full accomplishment of the pro- 
mises, Heb. vi. 12,16. Wherefore there is but one justification, 
and that of one kind only, wherein we are concerned in this 
disputation, the Scripture makes mention of no more ; and 
that is the justification of an ungodly person by faith. Nor 
shall we admit of the consideration of any other. For if there 
be a second justification, it must be of the same kind with the 
first, or of another ; if it be of the same kind, then the same 
person is often justified with the same kind of justification, or 
at least more than once ; and so on just reason ought to be 
often baptized. If it be not of the same kind, then the same 
person is justified before God with two sorts of justification, of 
both of which the Scripture is utterly silent. And the contin- 
uation of our justification depends solely on the same causes 
with our justification itself. 




The things wliich we have discoursed concerning the first and 
second justification, and concerning the continuation of justifi- 
cation, have no other design but only to clear the principal sub- 
ject whereof we treat, from what does not necessarily belong 
unto it. For until all things that are either really heterogene- 
ous or otherwise superfluous, are separated from it, we cannot 
understand aright the true state of the question about the na- 
ture and causes of our justifi.cation before God. For we intend 
one only justification, namely, that whereby God at once freely 
by his grace justifies a convinced sinner through faith in the 
blood of Christ. Whatever else any will be pleased to call 
justification, we are not concerned in it, nor are the consciences 
of them that believe. To the same purpose we must therefore 
briefly also consider what is usually disputed about our own 
personal righteousness, with a justification thereon, as also 
what is called sentential justification at the day of judgment. 
And I shall treat no further of them in this place, but only as 
it is necessary to free the principal subject under consideration, 
from being intermixed with them, as really it is not concerned 
in them. For what influence our own personal righteousness 
hath upon our justification before God, will be afterwards par- 
ticularly examined. Here we shall only consider such a notion 
of it, as seems to interfere with it, and disturb the right under- 
standing of it. But yet I say concerning this also, that it rather 
belongs to the difference that will be among us in the expres- 
sion of our conceptions about spiritual things, whilst we know 
but in part, than to the substance of the doctrine itself And 
on such difl"erences no breach of charity can ensue, whilst there 
is a mutual grant of that liberty of mind, without which it will 
not be preserved one moment. 

It is therefore by some apprehended that there is an evan- 
gelical justification, upon our evangelical personal righteous- 
ness. This they distinguish from that justification which is by 
faith through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, in 
the sense wherein they allow it. For the righteousness of 
Christ is our legal righteousness, whereby we have pardon of 


sin, and acquittal from the sentence of the law, on the ac- 
count of his satisfaction and merit. But moreover they say, 
that as there is a personal inherent righteousness required of us, 
so there is a justification by the gospel thereon. For by our 
faith and the plea of it, we are justified from the charge of un- 
belief; by our sincerity and the plea of it, we are justified from 
the charge of hypocrisy ; and so by all other graces and duties 
from the charge of the contrary sins in commission or omission, 
so far as such sins are inconsistent with the terms of the cove- 
nant of grace. How this differs from the second justification 
before God, which some say we have by works on the suppo- 
sition of the pardon of sin for the satisfaction of Christ, and the 
infusion of an habit of grace enabling us to perform those 
works, is declared by those who so express themselves. 

Some add, that this inherent personal evangelical righteous- 
ness, is the condition on our part of our legal righteousness, or 
of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto our justi- 
fication, or the pardon of sin. And those by whom the satis- 
faction and merit of Christ are denied, make it the only and 
whole condition of our absolute justification before God. So 
speak all the Socinians constantly. For they deny our obe- 
dience to Christ to be either the meritorious or efficient cause 
of our justification ; only they say it is the condition of it, 
without which God has decreed that we shall not be made 
partakers of the benefit thereof So does Socinus himself: " Our 
works, that is, the obedience we render to Christ, thpugh 
neither the efficient nor meritorious cause, are yet the indispen- 
sable cause of our justification in the sight of God and of our 
eternal [life] * * We must beware of supposing that holiness 
and innocence of life is the effect of our justification before 
God ; or of affirming that it is the efficient or impelling cause of 
our justification before God ; it is only a cause, without which 
God has decreed that we shall not obtain that justification."* 
And in all their discourses to this purpose, they assert our per- 
sonal righteousness and holiness, or our obedience to the com- 
mands of Christ, which they make to be the form and essence 
of faith, to be the condition whereon we obtain justification or 

* Sunt opera nostra, id est, ut dictum fuit, obedientia quam Christo prass- 
tamus, licet nee efficiens, Yiec meritoria, tamen causa est (ut vocant) bine 
qua non, Justificationis coram Deo atque aeternaB nostras * * * Ut cavendum 
est ne vitae sanctitatem atque innocentiam effectum justificationis nostreB 
coram Deo esse crcdamus, neque illam nostra? coram Deo justificationis 
causam efficientem aut impulsivam esse aifirmemus : sed tantutrimodo cau- 
sam sine qua earn justificationem nobis non contingere decrevit Deus. 



the remission of sins. And indeed, considering what their opin- 
ion is concerning the person of Christ, with their denial of his 
satisfaction and merit, it is impossible they should frame any 
other idea of justification in their minds. But what some among 
ourselves intend by a compliance with them herein, who are 
not necessitated thereto by a prepossession with their opinions 
about the person and mediation of Christ, I know not. For as 
for the Socinians, all their notions about grace, conversion to 
God, justification, and the like articles of our religion, are no- 
thing but what they are necessarily cast upon, by their hypo- 
thesis about the person of Christ. 

At present I shall only inqnire into that peculiar evangelical 
justification which is asserted to be the effect of our own per- 
sonal righteousness, or to be granted us thereon. And here we 
may observe, 

1. That God requires in and by the gospel a sincere obe- 
dience of all who believe, to be performed in and by their own 
persons, though through the aids of grace supplied to them by 
Jesus Christ. He requires indeed obedience, duties, and works 
of righteousness in and of all persons whatever. But the con 
sideration of the works which are performed before believing, is 
excluded by all from any causality or interest in our justifica 
tion before God. At least whatever any may discourse of the 
necessity of such works in a way of preparation to believing 
(whereto we have spoken before) none bring them into the 
verge of works evangelical, or obedience of faith, which would 
imply a contradiction. But that the works inquired after are 
necessary to all believers, is granted by all ; on what grounds 
and to what ends, we shall inquire afterwards ; they are de- 
clared, Ephes. ii. 10. 

2. It is likewise granted that believers, from the performance 
of this obedience, or these works of righteousness, are denomi- 
nated righteous in the Scripture, and are personally and inter- 
nally righteous, Luke i. 6. 1 John iii. 7. But yet this denomina- 
tion is no where given to them, with respect to grace habitually 
inherent, but to the effects of it in duties of obedience, as in 
the places mentioned. " They were both righteous before 
God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the 
Lord blameless." The latter words give the reason of the 
former, or their being esteemed righteous before God. And 
" he that doth righteousness is righteous ;" the denomination 
is from doing. And Bellarmine endeavouring to prove that it 
is habitual, not actual righteousness, which is as he speaks, the 


formal cause of our justification before God, could not produce 
one testimony of Scripture wherein any one is denominated 
righteous from habitual righteoiisness, but is forced to attempt 
the proof of it with this absurd argument, namely, that we 
"are justified by the sacraments, wliich do not work in us ac- 
tual but habitual righteousness." And this is sufficient to dis- 
cover the insufficiency of a pretence for any interest of our own 
righteousness from this denomination of being righteous there- 
by, seeing it has not respect to that which is the principal part 

3. This inherent righteousness, taking it for that which is 
habitual and actual, is the same with our sanctification ; neither 
is there any difference between them, only they are divers 
names of the same thing. For our sanctification is the inherent 
renovation of our natures, exerting and acting itself in new- 
ness of life, or obedience to God in Christ, and works of right- 
eousness. But sanctification and justification are in the Scrip- 
ture perpetually distinguished, whatever respect of causality 
the one of them may have to the other. And those who con- 
found them, as the Papist's do, do not so much dispute about 
the nature of justification, as endeavour to prove that indeed 
there is no such thing as justification at all. For that which 
would serve most to enforce it, namely, the pardon of sin, they 
place in the exclusion and extinction of it, by the infusion of 
inherent grace, which does not belong to justification. 

4. By this inherent personal righteousness, we may be said 
several ways to be justified. As (1) In our own consciences, 
in as much as it is an evidence in us and to us, of our partici- 
pation of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, and of our accept- 
ance with him, which has no small influence upon our peace. 
So speaks the Apostle ; " our rejoicing is this, the testimony of 
our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with 
fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our 
conversation in the world," 2 Cor. i. 12, who yet disclaims any 
confidence tlierein as to his justification before God. For, saith 
he, " although I know nothing by myself, yet am I not thereby 
justified." 1 Cor. iv. 4. (2) Hereby may we be said to be jus- 
tified before men ; that is, acquitted of evils laid to our charge, 
and approved as righteous and unblamable. For the state of 
things is so in the world, that the professors of the gospel ever 
were and ever will be evil spoken of as evil doers. The rule 
given them to acquit themselves, so that at length they may be 
acquitted and justified by all that are not absolutely blinded 


and liardened in wickedness, is that of a holy and fruitful 
walking, in abounding in good works. 1 Pet. ii. 12; iii. 16. 
And so is it with respect to the Church, that we be not judged 
dead, barren professors, but such as have been made "partakers 
of the like precious faith" with others. "Show me thy faith 
by thy works." James ii. Wherefore (3) this righteousness is 
pleadable to our justification against all the charges of Satan, 
who is the great accuser of the brethren, of all that believe. 
Whether he manage his charge privately in our consciences, 
which is as it were before God, as he charged Job ; or by his 
instruments ki all manner of reproaches and calumnies, whereof 
some in this age have had experience in an eminent manner, 
this righteousness is pleadable to our justification. 

On a supposition of these things, wherein our personal right- 
eousness is allowed its proper place and use (as shall after- 
wards be more fully declared) 1 do not understand that there 
is an evangelical justification whereby believers are by and on 
the account of this personal inherent righteousness justified in 
the sight of God ; nor does the imputation of the righteousness 
of Christ to our absolute justification before him depend thereon. 

1. None have this personal righteousness but they are ante- 
cedently justified in the sight of God. It is wholly the obe- 
dience of faith, proceeding from true and saving faith in God 
by Jesus Christ. For as it was said before, works before faith, 
are as by general consent excluded from any interest in our 
justification, and we have proved that they are neither condi- 
tions of it, dispositions to it, nor preparations for it, properly 
so called. But every true believer is immediately justified on 
his believing. Nor is there any moment of time wherein a 
man is a true believer, according as faith is required in the 
gospel, and yet not justified. For as he is thereby united to 
Christ, which is the foundation of our justification by him, so 
the whole Scripture testifies, that he that believes is justified; or 
that there is an infallible connexion in the ordination of God 
between true faith and justification. Wherefore this personal 
righteousness cannot be the condition of our justification before 
God, seeing it is consequential thereon. What may be pleaded 
in exception hereto from the supposition of a second justifica- 
tion, or differing causes of the beginning and continuation of 
justification, has been already disproved. 

2. Justification before God is a freedom and absolution from 
a charge before God, at least it is contained therein. And the 


nstrument of this charge must either be the law or the gospel. 
But neither the law nor the gospel, before God, or in the sight 
of God, charges true believers with unbelief, hypocrisy or the 
.ike. For " who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's 
elect," who are once justified before him? Such a charge may 
be laid against them by Satan, by the Church sometimes ou 
mistake, by the world, as it was in the case of Job, against 
which this righteousness is pleadable. But what is charged 
immediately before God, is charged by God himself, either by 
the law or the gospel ; and the judgment of God is according 
to truth. If this charge be by the law, by the law we must be 
justified. But the plea of sincere obedience will not justify us 
by the law. That admits of nothing in satisfaction to its de- 
mands, but that which is complete and perfect. And where the 
gospel lays any thing to the charge of any persons before God, 
there can be no justification before God, unless we shall allow 
the gospel to be the instrument of a false charge. For what 
should justify him whom the gospel condemns } And if it be 
a justificatioL by the gospel from the charge of the law, it ren- 
ders the death of Christ of no effect. And a justification with- 
out a charge, is not to be supposed. 

3. Such a justification as that pretended, is altogether need- 
less and useless. Tliis may easily be evinced from what the 
Scripture asserts respecting our justification in the sight of God 
by faith in the blood of Christ. But this has been spoken to 
before on another occasion. Let that be considered, and it will 
quickly appear, that there is no place nor use for this new jus- 
tification upon our personal righteousness, whether it be sup- 
posed antecedent and subordinate thereto, or consequential and 
perfective thereof. 

4. This pretended evangelical jtistification has not the nature 
of any justification that is mentioned in the Scripture ; that is, 
neither that by the law, nor that provided in the gospel. Jus- 
tification by the law is this : " The man that doth the works of 
it shall live in them." This it does not pretend to. And as to 
evangelical justificatioji, it is every way contrary to it. For 
therein the charge against the person to be justified, is true ; 
namely, that he has sinned, and has come short of the glory of 
God. In this it is false, namely, that a believer is an unbe- 
liever; a sincere person, a hypocrite ; one fruitful in good works, 
altogether barren. And this false charge is supposed to be ex- 
nibited in the name of God, and before him. Our acquittal in 
true evangelical justification is by absolution or pardon of sin; 


here by a vindication of our own righteousness. There the plea 
of the person to be justified is, " guilty," all the world is be- 
come guilty before God ; but here the plea of the person on his 
trial is, " not guilty," whereon the proofs and evidences of 
innocency and righteousness ensue ; but this is a plea which 
the law will not admit, and which the gospel disclaims. 

5. If we are justified before God on our own personal right- 
eousness, and pronounced righteous by him on account thereof, 
then God enters into judgment with us on sometliing in our- 
selves and acquits us thereon. For justification is a juridical 
act in and of that judgment of God which is according to truth. 
But that God should enter into judgment with us, and justify 
us with respect to what he judges on, or our personal right- 
eousness, the Psalmist does not believe, Psa. cxxx. 2, 3; cxiiii. 
2 ; nor did the publican, Luke xviii. 

6. This personal righteousness of ours cannot be said to be a 
subordinate righteousness, and subservient to our justification 
by faith in the blood of Christ. For therein God justifies the 
ungodly, and imputes righteousness to him that worketh not. 
And besides it is expressly excluded from any consideration in 
our justification. Ephes. ii. 7, 8. 

7. This personal inherent righteousness wherewith we are 
said to be justified with this evangelical justification, is our 
own righteousness. Personal righteousness and our own right- 
eousness, are expressions equivalent. But our own righteous- 
ness is not the material cause of any justification before God. 
For (1) It is unmeet so to be. Isa. liv. 6. (2) It is directly op- 
posed to that righteousness whereby we are justified, as incon- 
sistent with it to that end, Phil. iii. 9 ; Rom. x. 3, 4. 

It will be said that our own righteousness is the righteous- 
ness of the law ; but this personal righteousness is evangelical. 
But (1) It will be hard to prove, that our personal righteous- 
ness is any other but our own righteousness ; and our own 
righteousness is expressly rejected from any interest in our jus- 
tification, in the places quoted. (2) That righteousness whicli 
is evangelical in respect of its efficient cause, its motives and 
some especial ends, is legal in respect of the formal reason of 
it, and our obligation to it. For there is no instance of duty be- 
longing to it, but in general we are obliged to its performance 
by virtue of the first commandment, to take the Lord for our 
God. Acknowledging therein his essential verity and sovereign 
authority, we are obliged to believe all that he shall reveal, and 
to obey in all that he shall command. (3) The good works re- 



jected from any interest in our justification, are those whereto 
we are " created in Christ Jesus," Ephes. ii. 8, 9, the " works 
of righteousness which we have done," Tit. iii. 5, wherein the 
Gentiles are concerned, who never sought for righteousness by 
the worics of the law, Rom. ix. 30. But it will yet be said that 
these things are evident in themselves. God requires an evan- 
gelical righteousness in all that believe. This Christ is not, nor 
is it the righteousness of Christ. He may be said to be our legal 
righteousness, but our evangelical righteousness he is not. And 
so far as we are righteous with any righteousness, so far we 
are justified by it. For according to this evangelical right- 
eousness, we must be tried ; if we have it we shall be acquit- 
ted, and if we have it not, we shall be condemned. There is 
therefore a justification according to it. 

I answer. (1) According to some authors or maintainers of 
tills opinion, I see not but that the Lord Christ is as much our 
evangelical righteousness as he is our legal. For our legal 
righteousness he is not in their judgment, by a proper imputa- 
tion of his righteousness to us, but by the communication of 
the fruits of what he did and suffered for us. And so he is our 
evangelical righteousness also. For our sanctification is an 
eff'ect or fruit of what he did and suffered for us. Eph. v. 25, 
26. Tit. ii. 14. 

2. None have this evangelical righteousness, but those who 
are in order of nature at least, justified before they actually 
have it. For it is that which is required of all that believe, 
and are justified thereon. And we need not much inquire 
how a man is justified, after he is justified. 

3. God has not appointed this personal righteousness in 
order to our justification before him in this life, though he has 
appointed it, to evidence our justification before others, and 
even in his sight, as shall be declared. He accepts of it, ap- 
proves of it, upon the account of the free justification of the 
person, in and by whom it is wrought. So he had " respect 
unto Abel and his off"ering." But we are not acquitted by it 
from any real charge in the sight of God, nor do we receive 
remission of sins on the account of it. And those who place 
the whole of justification in the remission of sins, making this 
personal righteousness the condition of it, as the Socinians do, 
leave not any place for the righteousness of Christ in our jus- 

4. If we are in any sense justified hereby in the sight of 
God, we have whereof to boast before him. We may not have 


SO absolutely and with respect to merit, yet we have so com- 
paratively, and in respect of others, wlio cannot make the 
same plea for their justification. But all boasting is excluded. 
And it will not relieve to say, that this personal righteousness, 
is of the free grace and gift of God to some, and not to others; 
for we must plead it as our duty, and not as God's grace. 

5. Suppose a person freely justified by the grace of God 
through faith in the blood of Christ, without respect to any 
works, obedience, or righteousness of his own ; we freely 
grant; (1) That God indispensably requires personal obedi- 
ence of him, which may be called his evangelical righteous- 
ness ; (2) That God approves of, and accepts in Christ this 
righteousness so performed ; (3) That hereby that faith where- 
by we are justified is evidenced, proved, manifested, in the 
sight of God and men. (4) That this righteousness is plead- 
able to an acquittal against any charge from Satan, the world, 
or our own consciences ; (5) That upon it, we shall be declar- 
ed righteous at the last day, and without it none shall so be. 
And if any shall think meet from hence to conclude upon an 
evangelical justification, or call God's acceptance of our right- 
eousness by that name, I shall by no means contend with them. 
And wherever this inquiry is made, not how a sinner guilty 
of death and obnoxious to the curse, shall be pardoned, ac- 
quitted and justified, which is by the righteousness of Christ 
alone imputed to him ; but how a man that professes evan- 
gelical faith, or faith in Christ, shall be tried, judged, and 
whereon as such he shall be justified, we grant that it is and 
must be by his own personal sincere obedience. 

And these things are spoken, not with a design to contend 
with any, or to oppose the opinions of any ; but only to re- 
move from the principal question in hand, those things which 
do not belong to it. 

A very few words will also free our inquiry from any con- 
cernment, in that which is called sentential justification, at the 
day of judgment. For of what nature soever it be, the person 
concerning whom that sentence is pronounced, was (1) actually 
and completely justified before God in this world; (2) made 
partaker of all the benefits of that justification, even to a bless- 
ed resurrection in glory ; " it is raised in glory ;" 1 Cor. xv., 
(3) The souls of the most will long before have enjoyed a 
blessed rest with God, absolutely discharged and acquitted 
from all their labours, and all tiieir sins ; there remains no- 
thing but an actual admission of the whole person into eternal 


glory. Wherefore this judgment can be no more bnt declara- 
tory to the glory of God, and the everlasting refreshment 
of them that have believed. And withont reducing it to a new 
justification, as it is no where called in the Scripture ; the ends 
of that solemn judgment, in the manifestation of the wisdom 
and righteousness of God, in appointing the way of salvation 
by Christ, as well as in giving of the law ; the public convic- 
tion of them by whom the law has been transgressed and the 
gospel despised ; the vindication of the righteousness, power 
and wisdom of God in the rule of the world by his providence, 
wherein for the most part, his paths to all in this life, " are in 
the deep, and his footsteps are not known ;" the glory and 
honour of Jesus Christ, triumphing over all his enemies, then 
fully made " his footstool ;" and the glorious exaltation of 
grace in all that believe, with sundry other things of a like 
tendency to the ultimate manifestation of divine glory in the 
creation and guidance of all things, are sufficiently manifest. 

And hence it appears, how little force there is in that argu- 
ment which some pretend to be of so great weight in this cause. 
" As every one (they say) shall be judged of God at the last 
day, in the same way and manner, or on the same grounds is 
he justified of God in this life. But by works and not by faith 
alone, every one shall be judged at the last day ; wherefore 
by works and not by faith alone every one is justified before 
God in this life." For, 

1. It is no where said that we shall be judged at the last day, 
ex operibus, by our works ; but, only that God will render un- 
to men secundum opera, according to their works. But God. 
does not justify any in this life secundum opera ; being justified 
" freely by his grace, and, not according to the works of riglit- 
eousness which we have done." And we are every where 
said to be justified in this life, ex fide, per fidem, h) faith ; but 
no where propter fidem, for our faith; or that God justifies us 
secundum fidem, according to our faith. And we are not to 
depart from the expressions of the Scripture where such a dif- 
ference is constantly observed. 

2. It is somewhat strange that a man should be judged at 
the last day, and justified in this life, just in the same way and 
manner, that is with respect to faith and works, when the 
Scripture constantly ascribes our justification before God to 
faith without works ; and the judgment at the last day is said 
to be according to works, without any mention of faitli. 

3. If justification and eternal judgment proceed absolutely 



on the same grounds, reasons, and causes, then if men had not 
done what they shall be condemned for doing at the last day, 
they should have been justified in this life. But many shall 
be condemned only for sins against the light of nature, Rom. 
ii. 1 2, as never having the written law or gospel made known 
to them. Wherefore to such persons, to abstain from sins 
against the light of nature, would be sufficient to their justifi- 
cation, without any knowledge of Christ or the gospel. 

4. This proposition, that God pardons men their sins, gives 
them the adoption of children with a right to the heavenly in- 
heritance according to their works, is not only foreign to the 
gospel, but contradictory to it, and destructive of it, as con- 
trary to all express testimonies of the Scripture both in the Old 
Testament and the New, where these things are spoken of. 
But that God judges all men, and renders to all men at the 
last judgment according to their works, is true and affirmed 
m the Scripture. 

5. In our justification in this life by faith, Christ is consider- 
ed as our propitiation and advocate, as he who has made 
atonement for sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness. 
But at the last day, and in the last judgment, he is considered 
only as the judge. 

6. The end of God in our justification is the glory of his 
grace ; Eph. i. 6. But the end of God in the last judgment is 
the glory of his remunerative righteousness, 2 Tim. iv. 8. 

7. The representation that is made of the final judgment, 
Matt, vii. and xxv. is only of the visible church. And therein 
the plea of faith as to the profession of it is common to all, and 
is equally made by all. Upon that plea of faith, it is put to 
the trial whether it were sincere true faith or no, or only that 
which was dead and barren. And this trial is made solely by 
the fruits and effects of it, and otherwise in the public declara- 
tion of things to all, it cannot be made. Otherwise the faith 
whereby we are justified comes not into judgment at the last 
day. See John v. 24, with Mark xvi. 16. 




The first express record of the justification of any sinner is of 
Abraham, Others were justified before him from the beginning, 
and there is that affirmed of them, which suthciently evidences 
them so to have been. But this prerogative was reserved for 
the father of the faithful, that his justification and the express 
way and manner of it, should be first entered on the sacred 
record. So it is Gen. xv. 6. " He believed in the Lord, and it 
was counted unto him for righteousness." n^rm It was account- 
ed to him, or imputed to him for rigiiteousness. F.^oyiaeri — it 
was counted, reckoned, imputed. " And it was not written for 
his sake alone, that it was imputed unto him, but for us also 
unto whom it shall be imputed if we believe." Rom. iv. 23, 24. 
Wherefore the first express declaration of the nature of justifi- 
cation in the Scripture, affirms it to be by impiitation ; the im- 
putation of somewhat to righteousness ; and this done in that 
place and instance, which is recorded on purpose, as the pre- 
cedent and example of all those that shall be justified. As he 
was justified, so are we, and no otherwise. 

Under the New Testament there was a necessity of a more 
full and clear declaration of the doctrine of it. For it is among 
the first and principal parts of that heavenly mystery of truth 
which was to be " brought to light by the gospel." And be- 
sides there was from the first a strong and dangerous opposi- 
tion made to it. For this matter of justification, the doctrine of 
it, and what necessarily belongs thereto, was that whereon the 
Jewish church broke off from God, refused Christ and the gos- 
pel, perishing in their sins ; as is expressly declared. Rom. ix. 
31; x. 3, 4. And in like manner a dislike of it, an opposition 
to it, ever was and ever will be a ])rinciple and cause of the 
apostasy of any professing church, from Christ and the gospel, 
that falls under the power and deceit of them; as it fell out 
afterwards in the churches of the Galatians. But in this state 
the doctrine of justification was fully declared, stated, and 
vindicated by the apostle Paul in a peculiar manner. And he 
does it especially by affirming and proving that we have the 
righteousness whereby and wherewith we are justified, by im- 


putation ; or that our justification consists in the non-imputa- 
tion of sin, and the imputation of righteousness. 

But yet, although the first recorded instance of justification, 
and which was so recorded, that it might be an example, and 
represent the justification of all that should be justified to the 
end of the world, is expressed by imputation, and righteous- 
ness imputed, and the doctrine of it in that great case, wherein 
the eternal welfare of the church of the Jews, or their ruin, was 
concerned, is so expressed by the Apostle ; yet is it so fallen 
out in our days that nothing in religion is more maligned, more 
reproached, more despised, tjian the imputation of righteous- 
ness to us, or an imputed righteousness — a putative righteous- 
ness, the shadow of a dream, a fancy, a mummery, an imagi- 
mation, say some among us — An opinion, fa'da, exccranda, 
oerniciosa, detestanda, saith Socinus. and opposition arises 
to it every day from great variety of principles. For those by 
whom it is opposed and rejected can by no means agree what 
to set up in the place of it. 

However, the weight and importance of this doctrine is on 
all hands acknowledged, whether it be true or false. It is not 
a dispute about notions, terms, and speculations, wherein Chris- 
tian practice is little or not at all concerned, (of whicli nature 
many are needlessly contended about) but such as has an imme- 
diate influence upon our whole present duty, with our eternal 
welfare or ruin. Those by whom this imputation of righteous- 
ness is rejected, affirm that the faith and doctrine of it, over- 
throw the necessity of gospel obedience, of personal righteous- 
nesss, and good works, bringing in antinomianism and libertin- 
ism in life. Hereon it must of necessity be destructive of sal- 
vation, in those who believe it, and conform their practice 
thereto. And those on the other hand by whom it is believed, 
seeing they judge it impossible that any man should be justi- 
fied before God any other way, but by the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ, accordingly judge, that without it none 
can be saved. Hence a learned man of late concludes his 
discourse concerning it; hactenus de imputatione Justitim 
Christ',, sine qua nemo unquam aut sahatus est, aut sahari 
queat. Justificat. Paulin. cap. 8. " Thus far of the imputation 
of the righteousness of Christ, without which no man was ever 
saved, or can be." They do not think nor judge, that all those 
are excluded from salvation, who cannot apprehend, or who 
deny the doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ, as by them declared. But they judge that they are so, 


to whom tliat righteousness is not realhj imputed; nor can they 
do otherwise, whilst they make it the foundation of all their 
own acceptance with God and eternal salvation. These things 
greatly differ. To believe the doctrine of it, or not to believe 
it, as thus or thus explained, is one diiug ; and to enjoy the 
thing, or not enjoy it, is another. I no way doubt, but that 
many men receive more grace from God, than they understand 
or will own; and have a greater efficacy of it in them, than 
they will believe. Men may be really saved, by that grace 
which doctrinally they deny ; and they maybe justified by the 
imputation of that righteousness which in opinion they deny 
to be imputed. For the faith of it, is included in that general 
assent which they give to the truth of the gospel, and such an 
adherence to Christ may ensue thereon, as that their mistake of 
the way whereby they are saved by him, shall not defraud 
them of a real interest therein. And for my part, I must say, 
that notwithstanding all the disputes that I see and read about 
justification (some whereof are full of offence and scandal) I 
do not believe but that the authors of them, (if they be not 
Socinians throughout, denying the whole merit and satisfaction 
of Christ) do really trust to the mediation of Christ for the par- 
don of their sins, and acceptance with God, and not to their 
own works or obedience. Nor will I believe the contrary, 
until they expressly declare it. Of the objection on the other 
hand, concerning the danger of the doctrine of the imputation 
of the righteousness of Christ, in reference to the necessity of 
holiness, and works of righteousness, we must treat afterwards. 
The judgment of the reformed churches herein is known to 
all, and must be confessed, unless we intend by vain cavils to 
increase and perpetuate contentions. EspeciaUy the Church of 
England is in her doctrine express as to the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ, both active and passive, as it is usually 
distinguished. This has been of late so fully manifested out of 
her authentic writings, that is, the " Articles of Religion," and 
"Books of Homilies," and other writings publicly authorized, 
that it is altogether needless to give any further demonstration 
of it. Those who pretend themselves to be otherwise minded, 
are such as I will not contend with. For to what purpose is it 
to dispute with men who will deny the sun to shine, when they 
cannot bear the heat of its beams. Wherefore in what I have 
to offer on this subject, I shall not in the least depart from the 
ancient doctrine of the Church of England ; yea I have no de- 
sign but to declare and vindicate it, as God shall enable. 



There are indeed sundry differences among persons learned, 
sober, and orthodox (if that term displease not) in the way and 
manner of the explication of the doctrine of justification by the 
imputation of the righteousness of Clirist, who yet all of them 
agree in the substance of it, in all those things wherein the 
grace of God, the honour of Christ, and the peace of the souls 
of men are principally concerned. As far as it is possible for 
me, I shall avoid the concerning myself at present, in these dif- 
ferences. For to what purpose is it to contend about them, 
whilst the substance of the doctrine itself is openly opposed 
and rejected? Why should we debate about the order and beau- 
tifying of the rooms of a house, whilst fire is set to the whole ? 
When that is well quenched, we may return to the considera- 
tion of the best means for the disposal and use of the several 
parts of it. 

There are two grand parties by whom the doctrine of justi- 
fication by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ is op- 
posed, namely, the Papists and the Socinians. But they pro- 
ceed on different principles, and to different ends. The design of 
the one is to exalt their own merits, of the other to destroy the 
merit of Christ. But besides these who trade in company, we 
have many interlopers, who coming in on their hand, make 
bold to borrow from both, as they see occasion. We shall have 
to do with them all in our progress ; not with the persons of 
any, nor the way and manner of their expressing themselves, 
but the opinions of all of them so far as they are opposite to 
the truth. For it is that which wise men despise and good men 
bewail, to see persons pretending to religion and piety, to cavil 
at expressions, to contend about words, to endeavour the fas- 
tening of opinions on men wiiich they own not, and thereon 
mutually to revile one another, publishing all to the world, as 
some great achievement or victory. This is not the way to 
teach the truths of the gospel, nor to promote the edification of 
the church. But in general, the importance of the cause to be 
pleaded, the greatness of the opposition that is made to the 
truth, and the high concermnent of the souls of believers, to 
be rightly instructed in it, call for a renewed declaration and 
vindication of it. And what I shall attempt to this purpose, 1 
do it under this persuasion, that the life and continuance of any 
church on the one hand, and its apostasy or ruin on the other, 
do depend in ai) eminent manner on the preservation or rejec- 
tion of the truth in this article of religion ; and I shall add, as 
it has been professed, received, and believed in the Church of 
England in former days. 


The first thing we are to consider is the meaning of these 
words to impute and imputation. For from a mere plain de- 
claration hereof, it will appear that smidry things charged on 
a supposition of the imputation we plead for, are vain and 
groundless, or the charge itself is so. 

y:.'T\ the word first used to this purpose, signifies to think, to 
esteem, to judge, or to refer a thing or matter to any ; to m- 
pute, or to he imputed for good or evil: — see Levit. vii. 18; 
xvii. 4; and Psa. cvi. 31; "and it was counted, [reckoned, 
imputed] unto him for righteousness :" — to judge or esteem 
this or that, good or evil, to belong to him, to be his. The Lxx. 
express it by xoyt^w and xoyt^o,uai ; as do the writers of the New 
Testament also. And these are rendered by reputare, impu- 
tare, acceptum ferre, tribuere, assignare, ascribere. But there 
is a different signification among these words ; in particular, to 
be " reputed righteous," and to have " righteousness imputed," 
differ, as cause and effect. For, that any may be reputed 
righteous, that is, be judged or esteemed so to be, there must 
be a real foundation of that reputation, or it is a mistake, and 
not a right judgment ; as a man may be reputed to be wise, 
who is a fool, or reputed to be rich, who is a beggar. Where- 
fore he that is reputed righteous, must either have a righteous- 
ness of his own, or another antecedently imputed to him, as 
the foundation of that reputation. Wherefore to impute right- 
eousness to one that hath none of his own, is not to repute him 
to be righteous, who is indeed unrighteous, but it is to com- 
municate a righteousness to him, that he may rightly and just- 
ly be esteemed, judged, or reputed righteous. 

Imputare is a word that the Latin tongue owns in the sense 
wherein it is used by divines. Opti?ne de posteris meruisti^ 
ad quos pervenerit incorrupta rerum fides, magno authori suo im- 
putata. '' You have deserved well of posterity, to whom [by 
the publication of your father's works] you will have furnish- 
ed an authentic history of past events, accredited to its great 
author." Senec. ad Mart. And Pliny, lib. 18, cap. i., in his 
apology for the earth, our common parent, nostris eam crimi- 
nibus urgemus, culpa?nque nostrum illi imputamus. " We load 
her with our crimes, and impute our own faults to her." 

In their sense, to impute any thing to another, is, if it be 
evil, to charge it on him, to burden him with it; so saith Pliny, 
"we impute our own faults to the earth," or charge them upon 
it If it be good, it is to ascribe it to him as his own, whether 
originally it were so or no ; magno authori imputata. Vas- 


quez, in Thorn. 22. Tom. 2. Disp. 132, attempts the sense of 
tlie word, but confonds it with reputare. Jmputare mil repu- 
tare quidquam alicui, est idem atque inter ea qua; su7it ipsius, et 
ad eum pertinent, connumerare et recensere. " To impute a 
thing to a person, is to reckon it among those things which are 
his and belong to him." This is reputare properly ; imputare 
includes an act antecedent to this accounting or esteeming a 
thing to belong to any person. 

But whereas that may be imputed to us which is really our 
own antecedently to that imputation, the word must needs 
have a double sense, as it has in the instances given out of 
Latin authors now mentioned. And, 

1. To impute to us that which was really ours, antecedently 
to that imputation, includes two things in it. (1) An acknow- 
ledgment or judgment, that the thing so imputed is really and 
truly ours, or in us. He that imputes wisdom or learning to 
any man, does in the first place acknowledge him to be wise 
or learned. (2) A dealing with them according to it, whether 
it be good or evil. So when upon trial a man is acquitted be- 
cause he is found righteous ; first he is judged and esteemed 
righteous, and then dealt with as a righteous person; his right- 
eousness is imputed to him. See this exemplified. Gen. xxx. 33. 

2. To impute to us that which is not our own antecedently 
to that imputation, includes also in it two things. (1) A grant 
or donation of the thing itself to us to be ours, on some just 
ground and foundation. For a thing must be made ours, be- 
fore we can justly be dealt with according to what is required 
on the account of it. (2) A will of dealing with us, or an ac- 
tual dealing with us according to that which is so made ours. 
For in this matter whereof we treat, the most holy and right- 
eous God does not justify any, that is, absolve them from sin, 
pronounce them righteous, and thereon grant them right and 
title to eternal life, but upon the interveniency of a true and 
complete righteousness, truly and completely made the right- 
eousness of them that are to be justified, in order of nature 
antecedently to their justification. But these things will be 
yet made more clear by instances, and it is necessary they 
should be so. 

1. There is an imputation to us of that which is really our 
own, inherent in us, performed by us, antecedently to that im- 
putation, and this whether it be evil or good. The rule and 
nature hereof is given and expressed, Ezek. xviii. 20. " The 
righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, the wicked- 


ness of the wicked shall be upon him," Instances we have of 
both sorts, (1) In the imputation of sin, when the person 
guilty of it, is so judged and reckoned a sinner, as to be dealt 
with accordingly. This imputation Shimei deprecated, 2 Sam. 
xix, 1 9, He said to the king, " Let not my Lord impute iniquity 
unto me," 3--n< (the word used in the expression of the im- 
putation of righteousness, Gen, xv. 6,) " neither do thou re- 
member what thy servant did perversely ; for thy servant doth 
know that I have sinned." He was guilty, and acknowledged 
his guilt, but deprecates the imputation of it, in such a sen- 
tence concerning him, as his sin deserved. So Stephen depre- 
cated the imputation of sin to them that stoned him, whereof 
they were really guilty, Acts vii. 60. " Lay not this sin to their 
charge ;" iynpufe it not to them. As on the other side Zecha- 
riali the son of Jehoiada, who died in the same cause, and the 
same kind of death with Stephen, prayed that the sin of those 
who slew him might be charged on them, 2 Chron. xxiv. 22. 
Wherefore to impute sin, is to lay it to the charge of any, and 
to deal with them according to its desert. 

To impute that which is good to any, is to judge and acknow- 
ledge it so to be theirs, and thereon to deal with them in whom 
it is, according to its respect to the law of God. " The right- 
eousness of the righteous shall be upon him." So Jacob pro- 
vided that his righteousness should answer for him. Gen. xxx, 
33. And we have an instance of it in God's dealing with 
men, Psa. cvi. 3L " Then stood up Phineas and executed 
judgment, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness." 
Notwithstanding it seemed that he had not sufficient warrant 
for what he did, yet God that knew his heart, and what guid- 
ance of his own Spirit he was under, approved his act as right- 
eous, and gave him a reward testifying that approbation. 

Concerning this imputation it must l3e observed, that what- 
ever is our own antecedently thereto, which is an act of God 
thereon, can never be imputed to us for any thing more or less 
than what it is really in itself. For this imputation consists of 
two parts, or two things concur thereto. (1) A judgment of the 
thing to be ours, to be in us, or to belong to us. (2) A will of 
dealing with us, or an actual dealing with us, according to it. 
Wherefore in the imputation of any thing to us, which is ours, 
God esteems it not to be other than it is. He does not esteem 
that to be a perfect righteousness which is imperfect ; so to do 
might argue either a mistake of the thing judged on, or per- 
verseness in the judgment itself upon it. Wherefore if, as some 


say, our own faith and obedience are imputed to us for right- 
eousness, seeing they are imperfect, they must be imputed to us 
for an imperfect righteousness, and not for that which is perfect. 
For that judgment of God wliich is according to trutli, is in this 
imputation. And the imputation of an imperfect righteous- 
ness to us, esteeming it only as such, wiU stand us in little stead 
in this matter. And the acceptilation which some plead, (tra- 
ducing a fiction in human laws, to interpret the mystery of the 
gospel) not only overthrows all imputation, but the satisfaction 
and merit of Christ also. And it must be observed, that this 
imputation is a mere act of justice, without any mixture of 
grace as the Apostle declares, Rom. xi. 6. For it consists of 
these two parts, (1) An acknowledging and judging that to be 
in us which is truly so. (2) A will of dealing with us accord- 
ing to it ; both which are acts of justice. 

The imputation to us of that which is not our own antece- 
dently to that imputation, at least not in the same manner as it 
is afterwards, is various also, as to the grounds and causes that 
it proceeds upon. Only it must be observed, that no imputa- 
tion of this kind, is to account them, to whom any thing is im- 
puted, to have done the things themselves which are imputed 
to them. That were not to impute but to err in judgment, 
and indeed utterly to overthrow the whole nature of gracious 
imputation. But it is to make that to be ours by imputation, 
which was not ours before, to all ends and purposes whereto 
it would have served, if it had been our own, without any 
such imputation. 

It is therefore a manifest mistake of their own which some 
make the ground of a charge on the doctrine of imputation. 
For they say, if our sins were imputed to Christ, then must he 
be esteemed to have done what we have done amiss, and so 
be the greatest simier that ever was ; and on the other side, if 
his righteousness be imputed to us, then are we esteemed to 
have done what he did, and so to stand in no need of the par- 
don of sin. But this is contrary to the nature of imputation, 
which proceeds on no such judgment, but on the contrary, that 
we ourselves have done nothing of what is imputed to us ; nor 
Christ any thing of what was imputed to him. 

To declare more distinctly the nature of this imputation, I 
shall consider the several kinds of it, or rather the several 
grounds whence it proceeds. For this imputation to us, of what 
is not our own antecedent to that imputation, may be either, 
(1) Ex justitia, or (2) Ex vohuitaria sponsione, or (.3) Ex in- 


juria, or (4) Ex gratia ; all which shall be exemplified. I do 
not place them thus distinctly, as if they might not some of 
them concur in the same imputation, which I shall manifest 
that they do. But 1 shall refer the several kinds of imputation, 
to that which is the next cause of every one. 

1. Things that are not our own originally, personally, inhe- 
rently, may yet be imputed to us ex justitia, by the rule of 
righteousness. And this may be done upon a double relation 
to those whose they are; (1) federal, (2) natural. (I) Things 
done by one may be imputed to others, propter relationem fa:d- 
eralern, because of a covenant relation between them. So the 
sin of Adam was, and is imputed to all his posterity, as we 
shall afterwards more fully declare. And the ground hereof is, 
that we stood all in the same covenant with him, who was our 
head and representative therein. The corruption and deprava- 
tion of nature which we derive from Adam is imputed to us, 
with the first kind of imputation, namely, of that which is ours 
antecedently to that imputation. But his actual sin is imputed 
to us, as that which becomes ours by that imputation, which 
before it was not. Hence says Bellarmine himself; peccatum 
Adami ita posteris omnibus imputatur, ac si omnes idem pecca- 
tum patravis.'sent. De Amiss. Grat. lib. 4. cap 1 0. " The sin of 
Adam is so imputed to all his posterity, as if they had all com- 
mitted the same sin." Aud he gives us herein the true nature 
of imputation, which he fiercely disputes against in his books 
of justification. For the imputation of that sin to us, as if we 
had committed it, which he acknowledges, includes both a 
transcription of that sin to us, and a dealing with us, as if we 
had committed it ; which is the doctrine of the Apostle, Rom. 5. 

2. There is an imputation of sin to others, ex justitia prop- 
ter relationem naturalem, on account of a natural relation 
between them, and those who had actually contracted the guilt 
of it. But this is only with respect to some outward tempo- 
rary effects of it. So God speaks concerning the children of 
the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness. " Your children shall 
wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whore- 
doms." Numb. xiv. 33. Your sin shall be so far imputed to 
your children, because of their relation to you, and your inter- 
est in them, as that they shall suffer for them in an afllictive 
condition in the wilderness. And this was just, because of the 
relation between them; as the same procedure of divine justice 
is frequently declared in other places of the Scripture. So where 
there is a due foundation of it, imputation is an act of justice. 


3. Imputation may j^istly ensue, ex vohintaria sponsions ' 
when one freely and willingly undertakes to answer for another. 
An illustrious instance hereof we have in that passage of the 
Apostle to Philemon, in the behalf of Onesimus ; ver. 18. "If 
he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee aught, tovro ^oi fj^xoyt, 
impute it to me," put it on my account. He supposes tliat 
Philemon might have a double action against Onesimus ; (1) 
Jnjui'iarum of wrongs ; h he ti ^hixrj'^e as, if he has dealt un- 
justly with thee or by thee, if he has so wronged thee as to 
render himself obnoxious to punishment ; (2) Damni, or of 
loss ; -,; o^ctXEt, if he owes thee aught, be a debtor to thee, which 
made him liable to payment or restitution. In this state the 
Apostle interposes himself by a voluntary sponsion, to under- 
take for Onesimus. " I Paul have written it with my own hand, 
Eyw drtort^co, I will answer for the whole." And this he did by 
the transcription of both the debts of Onesimus to himself; for 
the crime was of that nature as might be taken away by com- 
purgation, being not capital. And the imputation of them to 
him, was made just, by his voluntary undertaking of them. 
Account me, says he, the person that has done these things ; 
and I will make satisfaction, so that nothing be charged on 
Onesimus. So Judah voluntarily undertook to Jacob, for the 
safety of Benjamin, and obliged himself to perpetual guilt in 
case of failure; Gen. xliii. 9. " I will be surety for him, of my 
hands shalt thou require him, if I bring him not to tliee, and 
set him before thee, v^x-^ni I will sin, or be a sinner before thee 
always;" be guilty, and as we say, bear the blame. So he ex- 
presses himself again to Joseph, Gen. xliv. 32. It seems this 
is the nature and otiice of a surety; what he undertakes for, is 
justly to be required at his hand, as if he had been originally 
and personally concerned in it. And this voluntary sponsion 
was one ground of the imputation of our sin to Christ. He 
took on him the person of the whole church that had sinned, to 
answer for what they had done against God and the law. 
Hence that imputation was fundamentaliter ex compacto, ex 
vohintaria sponsione, it has its foundation in his voluntary 
undertaking. But on supposition hereof; it was actually ex 
jiistitia, it being righteous that he should answer for it, and make 
good what he had so undertaken ; the glory of God's righteous- 
ness and holiness being greatly concerned herein. 

4- There is an imputation, ex injiu-ia; when that is laid to 
the charge of any, whereof he is not guilty : so Bathsheba says 
to David ; '•' it shall come to pass that when my Lord the King 


shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall 
be a^xjn sinners ;" 1 Kings i, 21, shall be dealt with as offenders, 
as guilty persons, have sm imputed to us, on one pretence or 
other to our destruction. We shall be sinners; be esteemed so, 
and be dealt withal accordingly. And we may see that in the 
phrase of the Scripture, the denomination of sinners follows the 
imputation, as well as tlie inhesion of sin; which will give light 
to that place of the Apostle, " he was made sin for us." 2 Cor. 
V. 21. This kind of imputation has no place in the judgment of 
God. It is far from him, that the righteous should be as the 

5. There is an imputation, ex mera gratia, of mere grace 
and favour. And this is, when that which antecedently to this 
imputation was no way ours, not inherent in us, not performed 
by us, which we had no right or title to, is granted to us, made 
ours, so as that we are judged of, and dealt with according to 
it. This is that imputation in both branches of it, negative in 
the non-imputation of sin, and positive in the imputation of 
righteousness, which the Apostle so vehemently pleads for, and 
so frequently asserts. Rom. iv. For he both affirms the thing 
itself, and declares that it is of mere grace, without respect to 
any thing within ourselves. And if this kind of imputation 
cannot be fully exemplified in any other instance, but this alone, 
whereof we treat, it is because the foundation of it in the me- 
diation of Christ is singular, and that which there is nothing to 
parallel in any other case among men. 

From what has been discoursed concerning the nature and 
grounds of imputation, sundry things are made evident, which 
contribute much liglit to the truth which we plead for, at least 
to the right understanding and stating of the matter under 
debate. As 

1. The difference is plain between the imputation of any 
works of our own to us, and the imputation of the right- 
eousness of faith without works. For the imputation of works 
to us, be they what they will, be it faith itself as a work of 
obedience in us, is the imputation of that which was ours, be- 
fore such imputation. But the imputation of the righteousness 
of faith, or the righteousness of God which is by faith, is the 
imputation of that which is made ours by virtue of that impu- 
tation. And these two imputations differ in their whole kind. 
The one is a judging of that to be in us, which indeed is so, 
and is ours, before that judgment be passed concerning it; the 
other is a communication of that to us, which before was 



not ours. And no man can make sense of the Apostle's dis- 
course, that is, he cannot imderstand any thing of it, if he ac- 
knowledge not that the righteousness he treats of is made ovtrs 
hy imputation, and was not ours, antecedently thereto. 

2. The imputation of works, of what sort soever they be, of 
faith itself as a work, and aU the obedience of faith, is ex jus- 
tiila, and not ex. gratia ; of right and not of grace. However 
the iDCStowing of faith on us, and the working of obedience in 
us, may be of grace, yet the imputation of them to us, as 
in us, and as ours, is an act of justice. For this imputation as 
was sliown, is notlihig but a judgment that such and such 
things are in us, or are ours, which truly and really are so, 
with a treating of us according to them. This is an act of 
justice, as it appears'in the description given of that imputa- 
tion. But the miputation of righteousness mentioned by the 
Apostle is as to us ex mera gratia, of mere grace, as he fully 
declares, Stopfai- trj ;tapirt avrov. And moreover he declares, 
that these two sorts of imputation are inconsistent and not ca- 
pable of any composition, so that any thing should be partly 
of the one, and partly of the other, Rom. xi. 6. " If by grace, 
then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace ; 
but if it be of works, then it is no more grace ; otherwise work 
is no more work." For instance, if faith itself as a work of 
ours be imputed to us, it being ours antecedently to that impu- 
tation, it is but an acknowledgment of it to be in us and ours, 
with an ascription of it to us for what it is. For the ascrip- 
tion of any thing to us for what it is not, is not imputation but 
mistake. But this is an imputation ex justitia, of works ; 
and so that which is of mere grace, can have no place, by the 
Apostle's rule. So the imputation to us of what is in us, is 
exclusive of grace, in the Apostle's sense. And on the other 
hand if the righteousness of Christ be imputed to us, it must 
be ex mera gratia; of mere grace ; for that is imputed to us, 
which was not ours, antecedently to that imputation, and so 
is communicated to us thereby. And here is no place for 
works, nor for any pretence of them. In the one way the foun- 
dation of imputation is in ourselves, in the other it is in an- 
other, which are irreconcilable. 

3. Herein both these kinds of imputation agree. Namely, 
in that whatever is imputed to us, it is imputed for what it is, 
and not for what it is not. If it be a perfect righteousness that 
is imputed to us, so it is esteemed and judged to be, and ac- 
cordingly are we to be dealt with, even as those who have a 


perfect righteousness. And if that which is imputed as right- 
eousness to us be imperfect, or imperfectly so, then as sucii 
must it be judged when it is imputed ; and we must be dealt 
with as those which have such an imperfect righteousness, and 
no otherwise. And therefore whereas our inherent righteous- 
ness is imperfect, (they are to be pitied or despised, not to be 
contended with, that are otherwise minded) if that be imputed 
to us, we cannot be accepted on the account thereof as per- 
fectly righteous, without an error in judgment. 

4. Hence the true nature of that imputation which we plead 
for (which so many cannot or will not understand) is manifest, 
and that both negatively and positively. For (1) negatively; 
(1) It is not a judging or esteeming of them to be righteous 
who truly and really are not so. Such a judgment is not re- 
ducible to any of the grounds of imputation before mentioned. 
It has the nature of that which is ex injuria, or a false charge, 
only it differs materially from it. For that respects evil, this 
that which is good. And therefore the clamours of the Papists 
and others are mere effects of ignorance or malice, that we 
affirm God to esteem them to be righteous, who are wicked, 
sinful and polluted. But this falls heavily on them who main- 
tain that we are justified before God by our own inherent right- 
eousness ; for then a man is judged righteous, who indeed is 
not so. For he who is not perfectly righteous, cannot be right- 
eous in the sight of God unto justification. (2) It is not a 
naiced pronunciation or declaration of any one to be righteous, 
without a just and sufficient foundation for the judgment of 
God declared therein. God declares no man to be righteous 
but him who is so ; the whole question being how he comes so 
to be. (3) It is not the transmission or transfusion of the right- 
eousness of another into them that are to be justified, that they 
should become perfectly and inherently righteous thereby. 
For it is impossible that the righteousness of one should be 
transfused into another, to become his subjectively and inhe- 
rently. But it is a great mistake on the other hand, to say that 
therefore the righteousness of one can in no way be made the 
righteousness of another, which is to deny all imputation. 

Wherefore (2) positively ; This imputation is an act of God 
ex mera gratia, of his mere love and grace, whereby on the 
consideration of the mediation of Christ, he makes an effectual 
grant and donation of a true, real, perfect righteousness, even 
that of Christ himself to all that believe, and accounting it as 
theirs, on his own gracious act, both absolves them from sin 
and grants them right and title to eternal life. Hence, 


(4) In this imputation, the thing itself is first imputed to us, 
and not any of the effects of it, but they are made ours by vir- 
tue of that imputation. To say that the righteousness of Christ, 
that is, his obedience and sufferings are imputed to us only as 
to their effects, is to say that we have the benefit of them, and 
no more ; but imputation itself is denied. So say the Socinians, 
but they know well enough, and ingenuously grant, that they 
overthrow all true real imputation thereby. Schlictingius,says,* 
" In order that we be justified by the righteousness of Christ, it is 
not necessary that his righteousness be made ours. It is sufii- 
cient that the righteousness of Christ be the cause of our justi- 
fication. We grant you that the righteousness of Christ is our 
righteousness, in as far as it redounds to our benefit and right- 
eousness ; but you understand it to be properly ours, that is, 
attributed and ascribed to us." And it is not pleasing to see 
some among ourselves with so great confidence take up the 
sense and words of these men in their disputations against the 
Protestant doctrine in this cause, that is, the doctrine of the 
Church of England. 

That the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, as to its 
effects, has this sound sense in it ; namely, that the effects of it 
are made ours, by reason of that imputation. It is so imputed, 
so reckoned to us of God, as that he really communicates all 
the effects of it to us. But to say the righteousness of Christ 
is not imputed to us, only its effects are so, is really to overthrow 
all imputation. For (as we shall see) the effects of the righteous- 
ness of Christ cannot be said properly to be imputed to us ; and if 
his righteousness itself be not so, imputation has no place herein, 
nor can it be understood why the Apostle should so frequently 
assert it as he does, Rom. iv. And therefore the Socinians who 
expressly oppose the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, 
and plead for a participation of its effects or benefits only, 
wisely deny any such kind of righteousness of Christ, namely, 
of satisfaction and merit, (or that the righteousness of Christ 
as wrought by him, was either satisfactory or meritorious) as 
alone may be imputed to us. For it will readily be granted, 
that what alone they allow the righteousness of Christ to con- 
sist in, cannot be imputed to us, whatever benefit we may have 

* Nee enim ut per Christ! justitiam justificemur, opus est ut illius justitia 
nostra fiat justitia; sed sufficit ut Christi justitia sit causa nostras Justifica- 
tionis ; et hactenus possumus tibi concedere, Christi justitiam esse nostram 
justitiam, quatenus nostrum in bonum justitiamque rednndat; verum tu pro- 
prie nostram, id est, nobis attributam ascriplamque intelligis. Disp. pro. So- 
cin. ad Meisner. pag. 250. 


by it. But I do not understand how those who grant the right- 
eousness of Christ to consist principally in his satisfaction for us 
or in our stead, can conceive of an imputation of the effects of it 
to us, without an imputation of the thing itself; seeing it is for 
that as made ours, that we partake of the benefits of it. But 
from the description of imputation and the instances of it, it ap- 
pears that there can be no imputation of any thing, unless the 
thing itself be imputed, nor any participation of the effects of 
any thing, but what is grounded on the imputation of the thing 
itself. Wherefore in our particular case, no imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ is allowed, unless we grant itself to be 
imputed ; nor can we have any participation of the effects of 
it, but on the supposition and foundation of that imputation. 
The impertinent cavils that some of late have collected from 
the Papists and Socinians, that if it be so, then are we as right- 
eous as Christ himself, that we have redeemed the world, and 
satisfied for the sins of others, that the pardon of sin is impos- 
sible, and personal righteousness needless, shall afterwards be 
spoken to, so far as they deserve. 

All that we now aim to demonstrate, is only, that either the 
righteousness of Christ itself is imputed to us, or there is no im- 
putation in the matter of our justification, which whether there 
be or no, is another question afterwards to be spoken to. For 
lis was said, the effects of the righteousness of Christ, cannot be 
said properly to be imputed to us. For instance, pardon of sin 
is a great effect of the righteousness of Christ. Our sins are 
pardoned on the account thereof. God for Christ's sake forgives 
us all our sins. But the pardon of sin cannot be said to be im- 
puted to us, nor is so. Adoption, justification, peace with God, 
all grace and glory, are effects of the righteousness of Christ. 
But that these things are not imputed to us, nor can be so, is 
evident from their nature. But we are made partakers of them 
all, upon the account of the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ to us, and no otherwise. 

Thus much may suffice to be spoken of the nature of impu- 
tation of the righteousness of Christ ; the grounds, reasons, and 
causes whereof, we shall in the next place inquire into. And 1 
doubt not but we shall find in our inquiry, that it is no such 
figment, as some ignorant of these things imagine, but on the 
contrary, an important truth closely connected with the most 
fundamental principles of the mystery of the gospel, and insep- 
arable from the grace of God in Christ Jesus. 





Those who believe the miputation of the righteousness of Christ 
to behevers, for the justification of Hfe, also unanimously pro- 
fess, that the sins of all believers were imputed to Christ. And 
this they do on many testimonies of the Scripture directly wit- 
nessing thereto, some whereof shall be pleaded and vindicated 
afterwards. At present we are only on the consideration of 
the general notion of these things, and the declaration of the 
nature of what shall be proved afterwards. And in the first 
place we shall inquire into the foundation of this dispensation 
of God, and the equity of it, or the grounds whereinto it is 
resolved, without an understanding whereof, the thing itself 
cannot be well apprehended. 

The principal foundation hereof is, that Christ and the Church, 
in this design, were one mystical person, which state they ac- 
tually coalesce in, through the uniting efficacy of the Holy Spi- 
rit. He is the head, and believers are the members of that one 
person, as the Apostle declares, 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13. Hence as 
Avhat he did is imputed to them, as if done by them, so what 
they deserved on the account of sin was charged upon him. So 
is it expressed by a learned prelate ; " He sustained our cause, 
who had united our flesh to himself, and thus, being joined to 
us by the closest bond, and made one with us, what was ours, 
he made to be his own."* And again, "what wonder, if con- 
stituted in our person, and clothed with our flesh," &.c.t The 
ancients speak to the same purpose. " For this reason, the di- 
vine power united itself with human weakness, that while God 
makes these things which are ours to be his own, he might make 
those things which are his to be ours."± And also, "The Lord 
Jesus Christ, our head, transforming into himself all the mem- 

* Nostram causam sustinebat, qui nostram sibi carnem aduniverat, et ita 
nobis arctissimo vinculo conjunctus, et i^oi'^eti, qua; erant nostra fecit sua. 

f Quid mirum si in nostra persona constitutus, nostram carnem indutus, 
&c. — Montacut. Origin. Ecclesiast. 

I Leo. Serm. 17. Ideo se humanse infirmitati virtus divina conseruit, ut 
dum Deus sua facit esse quas nostra sunt, nostra faceret esse quce sua sunt. 


bers of his body, uttered that exclamation, in his agony on the 
cross, in the voice of his redeemed, which he had formerly 
used in the Psalm."* And so speaks Augustine to the same 
purpose,! " We hear the voice of the body from the mouth of 
the head. The church suffered in him, when he suffered for the 
church ; as he suffers in the church, when the church suffers for 
him. For as we have heard the voice of the church in Christ suf- 
fering,' My God, my Lord, why hast thou forsaken me ? look upon 
me !' so we have heard the voice of Christ in the church suffer- 
ing, ' Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me !' " But we may 
yet look a little backward and further into the sense of the an- 
cient church herein. Christus, saith Irena^us, omnes Gentes 
exinde ab Adam dispersas, et generatiovem liomhium in sernet ipso 
recapitidaius est ; unde a Paulo typus futuri dictus est ipse 
Adam ; lib. 3. cap. 33. And again, Recapitulans universum 
hominum germs in se ab initio usque ad Jinem, recapitulatus est, 
et mortem ejus. In this of Recapitulation there is no doubt but 
he had respect to the am3Cf<f>a>.acwat5, mentioned Ephes. i. 10. 
And it may be this was that which Origen intended 
enigmatically, by saying " the soul of the first Adam was the 
soul of Christ," as it is charged on him. And Cyprian, Epist. 
63, on bearing about the administration of the sacred eucha- 
rist ; nos omnes portahat Christus ; qui et peccata nostra porta' 
hat. " He bare us," or suffered in our person, " when he 
bare our sins." Whence Athanasius affirms of the voice he 

used on the cross, ovx avroj 6 xtptoj ; a>.^a r^iii ev txcivu) rtanxovTei 

Tifiiv, " we suffered in him." Eusebius speaks many things to 
this purpose. Demonstrat. Evangel, lib. 10. cap. 1. Ex- 
opmiding those words of the Psalmist, " heal my soul, for," 
or as he would read them, if " I have sinned against thee ;" 
and applying them to our Saviour in his sufferings, he says 

thus, (Tinbav tai r^srfpa; xoii/ortoist ftj tavtov auopnaj ; " bccaUSC he 

took of our sins to himself; communicated our sins to himself," 
making them his own ; for so he adds, on ra; ^j/ftifpa; auapnaj; 
t|otzftov/ifiof, " making our sins his own." And because in his 
following words he fully expresses what I design to prove, I 
shall transcribe them at large. J " How then did he make our 

* Sermo. 16. Caput nostrum Dominiis Jesus Christus omnia in se corporis 
sui membra transt'ormans, quod olim in Psalmo eructaverat, id in supplicio 
crucis sub redemptorum suorum voce clamavit. 

I Epist. 120. ad Honoratum ; AuJiinus vocem corporis, ex ore capitis; Ec- 
clliria in illo patiebatur, quando pro Ecclesia patiebatur, k.c. 

I llwj ic rai iiiicrlpji u^upnaj £|o«c£ioura< ; Kat tojj iptpsif Xeycrai raj ai/ojuoi; hf-'^v. 


sins to he his own, and how did he bear oiu- iniquities ? Is it 
not from thence, that we are said to be liis body, as the Apos- 
tle speaks, ' Ye are the body of Christ, and members, for your 
part, or of one another ;' and as when one member sutlers, all 
the members sutfer ; so the many members sinning and suffer- 
ing, he according to the laws of sympathy in the same body, 
(seeing that being the word of God, he would take the form of 
a servant, and be joined to the common habitation of us all) 
took the sorrows or labours of the suffering members on him, 
and made all their infirmities his own, and according to the 
laws of humanity, bare our sorrow and labour for us. And the 
Lamb of God did not only these thhigs for us, but he under- 
went torments, and was punished for us ; that which he was 
no ways exposed to for himself, but we were so by the multi- 
tude of our sins ; and thereby he became the cause of the par- 
don of our sins ; namely, because he underwent death, stripes, 
reproaches, transferring the thing which we had deserved to 
himself; and was made a curse for us, taking to hnnself the 
curse that was due to us ; for what was he, but a price of 
redemption for our souls ? In our person therefore the oracle 
speaks, — whilst freely uniting himself to us, and us to himself, 
and making our (sins or) passions his own, he says, ' I have 
said, ' Lord be merciful to me, heal my soul, for I have sinned 
against thee.' " 

That our sins were transferred to Christ and made his ; that 
thereon he underwent the punishment that was due to us for 
them ; and that the ground hereof, whereinto its equity is re- 
solved, is the union between him and us, is fully declared in 
this discourse. So says the learned and pathetical author of 
the Homilies on Matthew v. in the works of Chrysostom, 
Horn. 54, which is the last of them. In came sua omnem 

n Kud 0, acjifia aiiroo etvai \cyoficda ; Kara rov avoaroKov (ftnaafTa^ v^ti; tare au/^u Xpiorou 
«rai fifX/) IK /i£f/OMf, (cui xad' b naaxo'''r0i tcoj //sXouj, av/jnaaxti ^afra ra ^eXj), uvt(o noX\u>v 
^cXoif naaxofroji' Kat nfiapravovTcnif^Kai avrof Kara ronj rijf oi'iATtaSaai Xoyuvi^cmii'in'rcp tvioKqas 
Qcov Xoyoj tov iiuppifv 6oi'\uv Xnffciv^ Kai ro) KOifU) TravTuiu ij^ioji/ o/ojuj^un aui-aiiOrjuti ; ronj 
Toiv naaX""^'^ iieXuif iroi/ou; etc iavron avaXafxPanci^ Kat ra; fiixcrtpas voaoui iSioitoicirai^ xai 
iT'iVTiov fipojf vncpaXyCi koi vncpnavti Kara tov<; ra; (piXafOpuiiriai fopioui' ou povov 6e rava rrpa- 
|aj ajivo^ rot} QeoVy aWa Kat virsp rjpfjjf KoXaaOeig Kat ripitypiai^ Vff0(7\;a»i' i]*' anroi ptf ook 
(opCiXcif, aXX ri/JEiJ TOv nXridovi c.neKS.i' nenXripp^Xnp£''(J>'^ iptv airtoi^ ri){ nov apaprnparwv ajiia- 
fiojj KaTiarri^ aic tqv vrrep ripfov afaSe^apeva^ Oai/arov^ paariya^ tc Kat vi3p£ti^ Kat artpiay ij/ttv 
tnoipciXopCfaf £ij a'lTOf peradcif^ Kat rr^v tiptf T:poaTCTtpi)ptvr]v Karapav tip' kavron iXKxaaq ycfo- 
ficvof vncp hpuiv Karapa, Kat Tt yap aXXo avTtxl,v\ov -^ 6to (pr\atv tj riptrtpov npoatonoi' to Xoyio» 
— (0<rrt ttKOThii iiiti)v iavrov ii/iii', hpaf re avrci) Kat ra hpcrepa 7:adn titoirotooptioi iprjoti', £yai 
tiTO, icupiE, cXtrjoov f«£, luoai Tijf tpuxny fiou, on rj^aprov ooi. 


carnem suscepit ; crucifixus, ottinein carnem crucifix! t in se. 
He speaks of the church. So they speak often others of them; 
tliat " lie bare us," tliat " he took us with him on the cross,'" 
that " we were all crucified iu him;" as Prosper : "He is not 
saved by the cross of Christ, who is not crucified in Christ !" 
Resp. ad cap. Gal. cap. 9. 

This then I say is the foundation of the imputation of the 
sins of the church to Christ, namely, that he and it are one 
person, the grounds whereof we must inquire into. 

But hereon sundry discourses ensue, and various inquiries 
are made. What a person is, in what sense, and how many 
senses that word may be used ; what is the true notion of it, 
what is a natural person, what a legal, civil, or political person; 
in the explication whereof some have fallen into mistakes. 
And if we should enter into this field, we need not fear matter 
enough of debate and altercation. But I must needs say, that 
these things belong not to our present occasion ; nor is the union 
of Christ and the church illustrated, but obscured by tliem. 
For Christ and believers are neither one natural person, nor a 
legal or political person, nor any such person as the laws, cus- 
toms, or usages of men know or allow of. They are one mys- 
tical person, whereof although tliere may be some imperfect 
resemblances found in natural or political unions, yet the union 
from whence that denomination is taken between him and us, 
is of that nature, and arises from such reasons and causes, as 
no personal union among men, (or the union of many persons) 
has any concern in. And tlierefore as to the representation of 
it to our weak understandings unable to comprehend the depth 
of heavenly mysteries, it is compared to unions of divers kinds 
and natures. So is it represented by that of man and wife ; not 
to those mutual affections which give them only a moral union, 
but from the extraction of the first woman, from the flesh and 
bone of the first man, and the institution of God for the indi- 
vidual society of life thereon. This the Apostle at large de- 
clares, Ephes. V. 25 — 32. Whence he concludes, that from the 
union thus represented, " we are members of his body, of his 
flesh and of his bones," or have such a relation to him, as Eve 
had to Adam, when she was made of his flesh and bone ; and 
so was one flesh with him. So also it is compared to the union 
of the head and members of the same natural body, 1 Cor. xii. 
12, and to a political union also between a ruling or political 
head, and its political members ; but never exclusively to the 
miion of a natural head, and its members comprised in the same 


expi-ession, Ephes. iv. 15 ; Col. ii. 19. And so also to sundry 
things in nature, as a vine and its branches. John xv. 1 — 3. 
And it is declared by the relation that was between Adam and 
his posterity, by God's institution and the law of creation. 
Rom. V. 12, &c. And the Holy Ghost by representing the union 
that is between Christ and believers, by such a variety of re- 
semblances, in things agreeing only in the common or general 
notion of union on various grounds, sufficiently manifests that 
it is not of, nor can be reduced to any one kind of them. And 
this will yet be made more evident by the consideration of the 
causes of it, and the grounds whereto it is resolved. But 
whereas it would require much time and diligence to handle 
them at large, which the occasional mention of them here will 
not admit, I shall only briefly refer to the heads of them. 

1. The first spring or cause of this union, and of all the other 
causes of it, lies in that eternal compact that was between the 
Father and the Son, concerning the recovery and salvation of 
fallen mankind. Herein among other things as the effects 
thereof, the assumption of our nature, (the foundation of this 
union) was designed. The nature and terms of this compact, 
counsel, and agreement, I have declared elsewhere, and there- 
fore must not here again insist upon it. But the relation be- 
tween Christ and the church proceeding from hence, and so 
being an effect of infinite wisdom, in the counsel of the Father 
and Son, to be made effectual by the Holy Spirit must be dis- 
tinguished from all other unions or relations whatever. 

2. The Lord Christ as to the nature which he was to assume, 
was hereon predestinated to grace and glory. He was npoiy. 
vionfjLsvoi "fore-ordained," predestinated, "before the founda- 
tion of the world." 1 Pet. i. 20. That is, he was so as to his 
office, so to all the grace and glory required thereto, and con- 
sequent thereon. All the grace and glory of the human nature 
of Christ, was an effect of free divine pro-ordination. God 
chose it from all eternity, to a participation of all which it re- 
ceived in time. Neither can any other cause of the glorious 
exaltation of that portion of our nature, be assigned. 

3. This grace and glory whereto he was pre-ordained, was 
twofold. (1) That which was peculiar to himself; (2) That 
which was to be communicated by and through him to the 
Church. Of the first sort was the ;j;apij It/uxTfuj, "the grace of 
personal union," that single effect of divine wisdom, (whereof 
there is no shadow nor resemblance in any other works of God, 
either of creation, providence, or grace) which his nature was 

OF THE church's SINS TO CHRIST. 203 

filled with. " Full of grace and truth." And all his personal 
glory, power, authority, and majesty in his exaltation as Medi- 
ator at the right hand of God, which is expressive of them all, 
lelong hereto. These things were peculiur to him, and all of 
them effects of his eternal predestination. But (2) He was not 
thus predestinated absolutely, but also with respect to that 
grace and glory which in him and by him, was to be commu- 
nicated to the church. And he was so, 

1. As the pattern and exemplary cause of our predestination ; 
for we are " predestinated to be conformed to the image of the 
Son of God, that he might be the first-born among many bre- 
thren." Rom. viii. 29. Hence he shall even " change our vile 
body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body;" 
Phil. iii. 21 ; that " when he appears," we may be every way 
" like him." 1 John iii. 2. 

2. As the means and cause of communicating all grace and 
glory to us. For we are " chosen in him before the founda- 
tion of the world, that we should be holy, and predestinated 
to the adoption of children by him." Ephes. i. 3 — 5. He was 
designed as the only procuring cause of all spiritual blessings 
in heavenly things to those who are chosen in him. Wherefore, 

3. He was thus fore-ordained as the head of the Church, it 
being the design of God to gather all things into a head in him. 
Ephes. i. 10. 

4. All the elect of God were in his eternal purpose and de- 
sign, and in the everlasting covenant between the Father and 
the Son, committed to him to be delivered from sin, the law, 
and death, and to be brought to the enjoyment of God. " Thine 
they v/ere, and thou gavest them to me." John xvii. 6. Hence 
was that love of his to them, wherewith he loved them and 
gave himself for them, antecedently to any good or love in 
them. Ephes. v. 25, 26 ; Gal. ii. 20 ; Rev. i. 5, 6. 

5. In the prosecution of this design of God, and in the ac- 
complishment of the everlasthig covenant, " hi the fulness of 
time he took upon him our nature," or took it into personal 
subsistence with himself. The especial relation that ensued 
hereon between him and the elect children, the Apostle de- 
clares at large. Heb. ii. 10 — 17. And I refer the reader to our 
exposition of that place. 

6. On these foundations he undertook to be " the surety of 
the new covenant." Heb. vii. 22. " Jesus was made a surety 
of a better testament." This alone of all the fundamental con- 
siderations of the imputation of our sins to Christ, I shall insist 


upon, on purpose to obv^iate or remove some mistakes about 
the nature of his suretyship, and the respect of it to tlie cove- 
nant, whereof he was the surety. And I shall borrow what I 
shall otfer hereon, from our exposition of this passage of tlie 
Apostle on the seventh chapter of this Epistle not yet published 
with very little variation from what I have discoursed on that 
occasion, without the least respect to, or prospect of any treat- 
ing on our present subject. 

The word ayyuo?, is no where found in the Scripture, but in 
this place only. But the advantage which some would make 
from thence, namely, that it being but one place wherein the 
Lord Christ is called a surety, it is not of much force, or much 
to be insisted on, is both unreasonable and absurd. For (1) 
this one place is of divine revelation, and theretbre is of the 
same authority with twenty testimonies to the same purpose. 
One divine testimony makes our faith no less necessary, and no 
less secures it from being deceived, than a hundred. 

The signification of the word is known, from the use of it, 
and what it signifies among men, that no question can be made 
of its sense and importance, though it be but once used ; and 
this on any occasion removes the difficulty and danger, tmv 
drto? T^iyoixsvoii', of cxprcssious but oucc uscd in Scripture. (3) 
The thing itself intended is so fully declared by the Apostle in 
this place, and so plentifully taught in other places of the 
Scripture, that the single use of this word may add light, but 
can be no prejudice to it. 

Something may be spoken to the signification of the word 
iyyvo^, whicli wiU give light to the thing intended by it. rva-Kov 
is vola 7naniis, the palm of the hand; thence is syyvo^ or jtj 
to yva-kov, to deliver into the hand. Eyyvrjtr;? is of the same 
signification. Hence being a surety is interpreted by striking 
the hand. Pro v. vi. 1. " My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, 
if thou hast stricken thy hand, with a stranger." So it an- 
swers the Hebrew 3n>j which the Lxx render syyvoM. Prov. vi. 1 ; 
xvii. IS; XX. 19; and by 6tfyyua«. Nehem. v. 3, 3->? originally 
signifies to mingle, or a inixhire of any things or persons. 
And thence from the conjunction and mixture that is between 
a siu'ety and him for whom he is a surety, where by they coa- 
lesce into one person, as to the ends of that suretyship, it is 
used for a surety, or to give surety. And he that was, or did 
3->" a surety, or become a surety, was to answer for him for 
whom he was so, whatsoever befell him. So is it described, 
Gen. xliii. 9, in the words of Judah to his father Jacob, con- 



corning Benjamin. " I will be surety for him ; of my hand 
shalt thou require him." In undertaking to be surety for him, 
as to his safety and preservation, he engages himself to answer 
for all that should befall him, for so he adds ; " if I bring hiin 
not to thee, and set him before thee, let me be guilty for ever." 
And on this ground he entreats Joseph, that he might be a ser- 
vant and a bondman in Benjamin's stead, that he might go 
free and return to his father. Gen. xliv. 32, 33. This is requir- 
ed to such a surety, that he undergo and answer all that he 
for whom he is a surety is liable to, whether in things criminal 
or civil, so far as the suretyship extends. A surety is an under- 
taker for another, or others, who thereon is justly and legally 
to answer what is due to them, or from them. Nor is the word 
otherwise used. See Job xvii. 3 ; Pro v. vi. 1 ; xi. 15 ; xvii. 1 1 ; 
XX. 16 ; xxvii. 13. So Paul became a surety to Philemon for 
Onesimus. Eyyvr; is sponsio, exp7^oTnissio,Jidejussio ; an under- 
taking or giving security for any thing or person to another, 
whereon an agreement ensued. This in some cases was by 
Dledges, or an earnest. Isa. xxxvi. 8. "Give pledges," surety, 
hostages, for the true performance of conditions. Hence is ]:r^y 
appa^iov a pledge or earnest. Eph. i. 14. Wherefore fyy^oj is 
sponsor, fidejussor, pr(2s, one that voluntarily takes on himself 
the cause or condition of another, to answer, undergo, or pay 
what he is liable to, or to see it done, whereon he becomes 
justly and legally obnoxious to performance ; in this sense is 
the word here used by the Apostle, for it has no other. 

In our present inquiry into the nature of this suretyship of 
Christ, the whole will be resolved into this one question, namely, 
whether the Lord Christ was made a surety only on the part 
of God to us, to assure us, that the promise of the covenant on 
his part should be accomplished; or also and principally an 
undertaker on our part, for the performance of what is requir- 
ed, if not of us, yet with respect to us, that the promise may 
be accomplished. The first of these is vehemently asserted by 
the Socinians, who are followed by Grotius and Hammond in 
their annotations on this place. 

The words of Schlichtingius are, "Jesus is called the surety 
of the covenant, because, on the part of God, he has given us 
an assurance that God will fulfil the promises of the covenant; 
not because he became surety for us to God, or took upon him- 
self the payment of our debts. For Christ was not sent by us, 
but by God, in whose name he has come to us, made a cove- 
nant with us and engaged that its promises shall be fulfilled 



And therefore he is not called simply a surety, but a surety of 
tiie covenant. Now Christ became a surety for the truth of 
the Divine covenant, not only inasmuch as he constantly testi- 
fied by his words that it should be firm and stable, but inas- 
much as he proved the truth of his mission by the indubitable 
evidence of facts — by the spotless innocence and holiness of 
his life, by the evidently Divine works, which he performed, 
and by the endurance of a cruel death, to which he submitted 
in attestation of the truth of his doctrine."* After which he 
subjoins a long discourse about the evidences wliich we have 
of the veracity of Christ. And herein we have a brief account 
of their whole opinion concerning the mediation of Christ. 
The words of Grotius are : " Christ became a surety ; that is, he 
has given us an assurance of the promise, not only by his 
words but by the perpetual sanctity of his life, by the death 
which he endured tor that end, and by numerous miracles ;"t 
which are an abridgement of the discourse of SchJichtingius. To 
the same purpose Dr. Hammond expounds it, that he was a 
" sponsor or surety for God, to the confirmation of the promises 
of the covenant." 

On the other hand the generality of expositors, ancient and 
modern, of the Roman and Protestant churches, on the place 
affirm, that the Lord Christ as the surety of the covenant, was 
properly a surety or undertaker to God for us, and not a surety 
and undertaker to us for God. And because this is a matter 
of great importance, wherein the faith and consolation of the 
church is highly concerned, I shall insist a little upon it. 

And first, we may consider the argument that is produced to 
prove that Christ was only a surety for God to us. Now this 
is taken neither from the name nor nature of the office or work 
of a surety, nor from the nature of the covenant, whereof he was 
a surety, nor of the office wherein he was so. But the sole 

* Sponsor foederis appellatur Jesus, quod nomine Dei nobis spoponderit. id 
est fidf-m fecerit, Deuin foederis promissiones servatunim. Non vero quasC 
pro nobis spoponderit Deo, nostrorumve debifonim solutionem in se receperit. 
Nee enim nos misimus Christum sed Deus, cujus nomine Christus ad nos 
venit, ftediis nobiscum panxit, cjusqiie protnissiones ratas fore spopondit ef 
in se recepit ; ideoque nee sponsor simpliciter, sod foederis sponsor nomina- 
tiir ; spopondit autem Christus pro foederis divini veritate. non tantum qua- 
tenus id firmum ratumque fore verbis ])erpetuo testatus est; sed etiam qua- 
tcnus muneris sni fidem, maximis rerum ipsarum comprobavit documentis, 
cum perfecta vitae innocentia et sanctitate, cum divinis plane qua? patravit 
operibus ; cum mortis adeo truculent<fi, quam pro doctrince suje veritate 
suhiit, perpessionc. 

t Spopondit Christus, i. e.. Nos certos promissi fecit, non solis verbis, sed 
perpetua vitae sanctitate, morte ob id tolerata et miraculis plurimis. 

NATURE OP Christ's suretyship. 207 

argument insisted on is, tliat we do not give Christ as a surety 
of the covenant to God, but he gives him to us, and therefore 
he is a surety for God and the accomphshment of his promises, 
and not for us to pay our debts, or to answer what is required 
of us. 

But there is no force in this argument. For it belongs not 
to the nature of a surety, by whom he is or may be designed 
to liis office and work therein. His own vohmtary susception 
of the office and work, is all that is required, however he may 
be designed or induced to undertake it. He who of his own 
accord voluntarily undertakes for another, on what grounds, 
reasons, or considerations soever he does so, is his surety. 
And this the Lord Christ did in the behalf of the church. For 
when it was said, " sacrifice and burnt-offering and whole 
burnt-offerings for sin, God would not have," or accept as 
sufficient to make the atonement that he required, so that the 
covenant might be established and made effectual to us, then 
said he, " Lo, I come to do thy will, God." Heb. x. 5, 6. 
He willingly and voluntarily out of his own abundant good- 
ness and love, took upon him to make atonement for us, 
wherein he was our surety. And accordingly this undertaking 
is ascribed to that love which he exercised herein. Gal, ii. 20 ; 
1 John iii. 16; Rom. i. 5. And there was this in it moreover, 
that he took upon him our nature or the seed of Abraham, 
wherein he was our surety. So that although we neither did 
nor could appoint him so to be, yet he took from us, that 
wherein and whereby he was so, which is as much as if we 
had designed him to his work, as to the true reason of his being 
our surety. Wherefore notwithstanding those antecedent trans- 
actions that were between the Father and him in this matter, 
it was the voluntary engagement of himself to be our surety, 
and his taking our nature upon him for that end, which was 
the formal reason of his being instated in that office. 

It is indeed weak and contrary to all common experience, 
that none can be a surety for others, unless those others design 
him and appoint him so to be. The principal instances of surety- 
ship in the world, have been by the voluntary undertaking of 
such as were no way procured so to do by them for whom 
they undertook ; and in such undertakings he to whom it is 
made, is no less considered, than they for whom it is made. 
As when Judah of his own accord became a surety for Benja- 
min, he had as much respect to the satisfaction of his father, 
as the safety of his brother. And so the Lord Christ, in his 


undertaking to be a surety for us, had respect to the glory of 
God belbre our safety. 

1. We may consider the arguments whence it is evident that 
he neither was, nor could be a surety to us for God, but was 
so for us to God. For 

1. Eyyw; or cyyvtjtr-i a surcty, is oue that undertakes for an- 
other wherein he is defective really or in reputation. What- 
ever that undertaking be, whether in words of promise, or in 
depositing of real security in the hands of an arbitrator, or by 
any other personal engagement of life and body, it respects the 
defect of the person for whom any one becomes a surety. 
Such a one is sponsor ox fidejussor, in all good authors and 
common use of speech. And if any one be of absolute credit 
himself, and of a reputation every way unquestionable, there 
is no need of a surety, unless in case of mortality. The words 
of a surety in the behalf of another whose ability or reputa- 
tion is dubious, are, ad me recipio, faciei, aid faciam. '• I 
engage that either he shall do it, or I will." And when iyyvoj 
is taken adjectively, as sometimes, it signifies satisdationibus 
obnoxius ; liable to payments for others that are insolvent. 

2. God can therefore have no surety properly, because there 
can be no imagination of any defect on his part. There may 
be indeed a question whether any word or promise, be a word 
or promise of God. To assure us hereof is not the work of a 
surety, but of any one, or any means, that may give evidence 
that so it is, that is, of a witness. But upon a supposition that 
what is proposed is his word or promise, there can be no imagi- 
nation or fear of any defect on his part, so that there should be 
any need of a surety for the performance of it. He therefore 
makes use of witnesses to confirm his word : that is, to testify 
that such promises he has made, and so he will do. So the 
Lord Christ was his witness. Isa. xliii. 10. " Ye are my wit- 
nesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen." 
But they were not all his sureties. So he affirms, that he "came 
into the world to bear witness to the truth," John xviii. 37 ; 
that is, the truth of the promises of God ; for he was " the min- 
ister of the circumcision for the truth of the promises of God 
to the fathers." Rom. xv. 8. But a surety for God, properly 
so called, he was not, nor could be. The distance and differ- 
ence is wide enough between a witness and a surety. For a 
surety must be of more ability, or more credit and reputation 
than he or those for whom he is a surety, or there is no nc^cd 
of his suretyship ; or at least he must add to their credit, and 


make it better than without him. This none can be for God, 
no not the Lord Christ himself, who in his whole work was 
the servant of the Father. And the Apostle does not use this 
word in a general improper sense for any one that by any 
means give assurance of any other thing, else he had ascribed 
nothing peculiar to Christ. For in such a sense all the prophets 
and apostles were sureties for God, and many of them confirm- 
ed the truth of his word and promises, with the laying down 
of their lives. But such a surety he intends as undertakes to 
do that for others which they cannot do for themselves; or at 
least are not reputed to be able to do what is required of them. 

3. The Apostle had before at large declared, who, and what 
was God's surety in this matter of the covenant, and how im- 
possible it was that he should have any other. And this was 
himself alone, interposing himself by his oath. For in this 
cause, " because he had none greater lo swear by, he sware by 
himself," Heb. vi. 13, 14, Wherefore if God would give any 
other surety besides himself, it must be one greater than he. 
This being every way impossible, he swears by himself only. 
Many ways he may and does use for the declaring and testify- 
ing of his truth to us, that we may know and believe it to be 
his word; and so the Lord Christ in his ministry was the prin- 
cipal witness of the truth of God, But other surety than him- 
self he can have none. And therefore, 

4. When he would have us in this matter not only come to 
the full assurance of faith concerning his promises, but also to 
have strong consolation therein, he resolves it wholly into the 
inmiutability of his counsel, as declared by his promise and 
oath, Heb, vi. 18, 19. So that neither is God capable of 
having any surety properly so called, nor do we stand in need 
of any on his part, for the confii'mation of our faith in the 
highest degree. 

5. We on all accounts stand in need of a surety for us, or on 
our behalf Nor without the interposition of such a surety, 
could any covenant between God and us be firm and stable, or 
"an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure." In 
the first covenant made with Adam there was no surety, but 
God and men were the immediate covenanters. And although 
we were then in a state and condition able to perform and an- 
swer all the terms of the covenant, yet was it broken and dis- 
annulled. If this came to pass by the failure of the promise of 
God, it was necessary that on the making of a new covenant 
he should have a surety to undertake for him, that the cove- 



nant might be stable and everlasting. But this is false and 
blasphemous to imagine. It was man alone who failed and 
broke that covenant. Wherefore it was necessary that, upon 
the making of the new covenant, and that with a design and 
purpose that it should never be disannulled as the former was, 
we should have a surety and undertaker for us. For if that 
first covenant was not firm and stable, because there was no 
surety to undertake for us, notwithstanding all that ability 
which we had to answer the teiTns of it ; how much less can 
any other be so, now our natures are become depraved and 
sinful ! Wherefore we alone were capable of a surety, pro- 
perly so called, for us ; we alone stood in need of him, and 
without him the covenant could not be firm, and inviolate on 
our parts. The surety therefore of this covenant is so with 
God for us. 

6. It is the priesthood of Christ that the Apostle treats of in 
this place, and that alone. Wherefore he is a surety as he is a 
priest, and in the discharge of that office, and therefore is so 
with God on our behalf This Schhchtingius observes, and is 
aware what will ensue against his pretensions, which he en- 
deavours to obviate.* " Some may think it strange that the in- 
spired writer, when treating of the priesthood of Christ, in 
what precedes and what follows, all at once calls him the 
surety of the covenant, and not the priest. Why did he not 
say, 'of so much better a covenant was Jesus made a priest?' 
for this the whole context evidently seems to require. We may 
believe that under the name of siu'etyship is understood the 
priesthood also of Christ. For it is the office of a surety, not 
only to promise something in another's name, and to pledge 
his credit for another, but also, if need be, to perform in an- 
other's name, what he engaged. In human affairs, this takes 
place, when he for whom the surety engaged, does not per- 
form ; but in this case for a contrary reason (for the former 
cannot have a place here) inasmuch as he for whom Christ be- 

* Mirnm porro alicui videri posset cur divinus author de Christi sacerdotio 
in superioribus et in sequentibus agens, derepente euin sponsorem foederis 
non vero sacerdotem vocet ? Cur non dixerit tanto pra3stantioris federis 
tacttis est sacerdos Jesus? hoc enirn plane requirere videtur totus orationis 
contextus. Credibile est in voce sponsionis sacerdotium quoque Christi in- 
telligi. Sponsoris enim non modo est aheno nomine quippiam promittere, et 
fidem suam pro alio interponere; sed etiam, si ita res ferat, alterius nomine 
id quod spopondit prasstare. In rebus quidem humanis, si id non pra-stet is 
pro quo sponsor fidejussit ; hie vero propter contrariam causam (.nam prior 
hie locum habere non potest) nempe qnatentis ille pro quo spopondit Christus 
per ipsum Christum promissa sua nobis exhibet ; qua in re preecipue Christi 
sacerdotiuni continetur. 


comes a surety, exhibits to us his promises through Christ him- 
self-, and ill this chiefly consists the priesthood of Christ." 

Ansu: (1) It may indeed seem strange to any one who 
imagines Christ to be such a surety as he does, why the Apos- 
tle should so call him, and so introduce him in the description 
of his priestly office, as that which belongs thereto. But grant 
what is the proper work and duty of a surety, and whom the 
Lord Jesus was a surety for, and it is evident that nothing 
more proper or pertinent could be mentioned by him, when he 
was in the declaration of that office. (2) He confesses that by 
his exposition of this suretyship of Christ, as making him a 
surety for God, he contradicts the nature and only notion of a 
surety among men. For such a one he acknowledges does 
nothing but in the defect and inability of them for whom he is 
engaged and undertakes. He is to pay that which they owe, 
and to do what is to be done by them, which they cannot per- 
form. And if this be not the notion of a surety in this place, 
the Apostle makes use of a word no where else used in the 
whole Scripture, to teach us that which it never signifies among 
men, which is improbable and absurd. For the sole reason 
why he made use of it was, that from the nature and notion of 
it amongst men in other cases, we may understand the signifi- 
cation of it ; what he intends by it, and what, under that name, 
he ascribes to the Lord Jesus. (3) He has no way to solve the 
Apostle's mention of Christ being a surety in the description of 
his priestly office, but by overthrowing the nature of that office 
also. For to confirm this absurd notion that Christ as a priest 
was a surety for God, he would have us believe that the priest- 
hood of Christ consists in his making effectual to us the promi- 
ses of God, or his effectual communicating of the good things 
promised to us ; the falsehood of which notion, really destruc- 
tive of the priesthood of Christ, I have elswhere at large de- 
tected and confuted. Wherefore seeing the Lord Christ is a 
surety of the covenant as a priest, and all the sacerdotal actings 
of Christ have God for their immediate object, and are per- 
formed with him on our behalf, he was a surety for us also. 

A surety, sponsor, vas, prcBS, Jidejus.ior, for us, the Lord 
Christ was, by his voluntary undertaking out of his rich grace 
and love, to do, answer, and perform all that is required on our 
parts, that we may enjoy the benefits of the covenant, the 
grace and glory prepared, proposed, and promised in it, in the 
way and manner determined on by divine wisdom. And this 
may be reduced to two heads. 1. His answering for our trans 


gressions against the first covenant. 2. His purchase and pro- 
curement of the grace of the new. " He was made a curse 
for us, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us," 
Gal. iii. 13—15. 

1. He undertook as the surety of the covenant to answer for 
all the sins of those who are to be, and are, made partakers of 
the benefits of it. That is, to undergo the punishment due to 
their sins ; to make atonement for them, by offering himself a 
propitiatory sacrifice for the expiation of their sins, redeeming 
them by the price of his blood from their state of misery and 
bondage under the law and the curse of it, Isa. liii. 4 — 6, 10; 
Matt. XX. 28 ; 1 Tim. ii. 6 ; 1 Cor. vi. 20 ; Rom. iii. 25, 26 ; 
Heb. X. 5 — 8 ; Rom. viii. 2, 3 ; 2 Cor. v. 19—21 ; Gal. iii. 13. 
And this was absolutely necessary that the grace and glory 
prepared in the covenant might be communicated to us. With- 
out this undertaking of his, and performance of it, the righteous- 
ness and faithfulness of God would not permit, that sinneis, 
such as had apostatized from him, despised his authority and 
rebelled against him, falling thereby under the sentence and 
curse of the law, should again be received into his favour, and 
made partakers of grace and glory. This therefore the Lord 
Christ took upon himself, as the surety of the covenant. 

2. That those who were to be taken into this covenant 
should receive grace enabling them to comply with the terms 
of it, fulfil its conditions, and yield the obedience which God 
required therein. For by the ordination of God, he was to 
procure, and did merit and procure for them the Holy Spirit, 
and all needful supplies of grace to make them new creatures, 
and enable them to yield obedience to God from a new prin- 
ciple of spiritual life, and that faithfully to the end. So was he 
the surety of this better testament. But all things belonging 
hereto will be handled at large in the place from whence, as I 
said, these are taken, as suitable to our present occasion. 

But some have other notions of these things. For they say, 
" that Christ by his death, and his obedience therein, whereby 
he offered himself a sacrifice of sweet smelling savour to God, 
procured for us the new covenant ; or, as one speaks, all that 
we have by the death of Christ is, that thereto we owe the 
covenant of grace. For herein he did and suffered what God 
required and freely appointed him to do and suffer. Not that 
the justice of God required any such thing with respect to their 
sins for whom he died, and in wliose stead, or ' to bestead' whom, 
he suffered, but what bv a free constitution of divine wisdom 


and sovereignty was appointed to him. Hereon, God was 
pleased to remit the terms of the old covenant, and to enter 
into a new covenant with manknid upon terms suited to our 
reason, possible to our abilities, and every way advantageous 
to us. For these terms are faith and sincere obedience, or such 
an assent to the truth of divine revelations, as is effectual in 
obedience to the will of God contained hi them, upon the en- 
courageuient given thereto in the promises of eternal life, or a 
future reward made therein. On the performance of these con- 
ditions our justification, adoption, and future glory depend; for 
they are that righteousness before God, whereon he pardons 
our sins, and accepts our persons, as if we were perfectly right- 
eous." Wherefore by this procuring the new covenant for us, 
which they ascribe to the death of Christ, they intend the abro- 
gation of the old covenant, or of the law, or at least such a de- 
rogation from it, that it shall uo more oblige us either to sinless 
obedience or punishment, nor require a perfect righteousness 
for our justification before God; and the constitution of a new 
law of obedience accommodated to our present state and con- 
dition, on whose observance all the promises of the gospel 

Others say, that in the death of Christ there was real satis- 
faction made to God ; not to the law, or to God according to 
what the law required, but to God absolutely. That is, he did 
what God was well pleased and satisfied with, without any 
respect to his justice or the curse of the law. And they add, 
that hereon the whole righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, 
so far as that we are made partakers of the benefits thereof. 
And moreover, that the way of the communication of them to 
us, is by the new covenant which by his death, the Lord Christ 
procured. For the conditions of this covenant are established 
in the covenant itself, whereon God will bestow all the benefits 
and effects of it upon us, which are faith and obedience. Where- 
fore what the Lord Christ has done for us, is thus far accepted 
as our legal righteousness, that God upon our faith and obe- 
dience with respect thereto, releases and pardons all our sins 
of omission and commission. Upon this pardon there is no 
need of any positive perfect righteousness to our justification 
or salvation, but our own personal righteousness is accepted 
with God in the room of it, by virtue of the new covenant 
which Christ has procured. So is the doctrine hereof stated by 
Curcellaeus, and those that join with him, or follow him. 

Sundry things there are in these opinions that deserve an cv- 


animation ; and they will most, if not all of them, occur to lis 
in our progress. That which alone we have occasion to inquire 
into with respect to what we have discoursed concerning the 
Lord Christ as surety of the covenant, and which is the foun- 
dation of all that is asserted in them, is, that Christ by his 
death procured the new covenant for us; which, as one says, 
" is all that we have thereby ;" which if it should prove other- 
wise, we are not beholden to it for any thing at all. But these 
things must be examined. And, 

1. Thetermsof "procuring the new covenant" areambiguous. 
It is not yet (that I know of) by any declared how the Lord 
Christ procured it ; whether he did so by his satisfaction and 
obedience, as the meritorious cause of it, or by what other kind 
of causality. Unless this be stated, we are altogether uncer- 
tain what relation of the new covenant to the death of Christ 
is intended. And to say that thereto we owe the new cove- 
nant, does not mend the matter, but rather renders the terms 
more ambiguous. Neither is it declared whether the constitu- 
tion of the covenant, or the communication of the benefits of 
it, is intended. It is yet no less general, that " God was so 
well pleased with what Christ did, that hereon he made and 
entered into a new covenant with mankind." This they may 
grant who yet deny the whole satisfaction and merit of Christ. 
If they mean that the Lord Christ by his obedience and suffering 
meritoriously procured the making and establishing the new 
covenant, which was all that he so procured, and the entire effect 
of his death, what they say may be understood, but the whole 
nature of the mediation of Christ is overthrown thereby. 

2. This opinion is liable to a great prejudice, in that whereas 
it is in such a fundamental article of our rehgion, and about 
that wherein the eternal welfare of the church is so nearly 
concerned, there is no mention made of it in the Scripture. 
For is it not strange, if this be, as some speak, the sole 
effect of the death of Christ, whereas sundry other things are 
frequently in the Scripture ascribed to it, as the effects and 
fruits thereof, that this which is only so should be no where 
mentioned, neither in express words, nor such as will allow of 
this sense by any just or lawful consequence. Our redemption, 
pardon of sins, the renovation of our natures, our sanctifica- 
tion, justification, peace with God, eternal life, are all jointly 
and severally assigned thereto hi places almost without num- 
ber. But it is no where said in the Scripture, " that Christ by 
his death, merited, procured, obtained the new covenant ;" oi 


that God should enter into a new covenant with mankind ; yea 
as we shall see, that which is contrary to it, and inconsistent 
with it, is frequently asserted. 

3. To clear the truth herein, we must consider the several 
notions and causes of the new covenant ; with the true and 
real respect of the death of Christ thereto. And it is variously 
represented to us, 

1. In the designation and preparation of its terms and benefits 
in the counsel of God. And although this has the nature 
of an eternal decree, yet it is not the same with the decree of 
election, as some suppose. For that properly respects the sub- 
jects or persons for whom grace and glory are prepared. This 
is the preparation of that grace and glory, as to the way and 
manner of their communication. Some learned men judge 
that this counsel and purpose of the will of God, to give grace 
and glory in and by Jesus Christ to the elect in the way and 
by the means by him prepared, is formally the covenant of 
grace, or at least that the substance of the covenant is com- 
prised therein. But it is certain, that more is required to com- 
plete the whole nature of a covenant. Nor is this purpose or 
counsel of God called the covenant in the Scripture, but is only 
proposed as the spring and fountain of it. Eph. i. 3 — 11. Unto 
the full exemplification of the covenant of grace, there is re- 
quired the declaration of this counsel of God's will, accompanied 
with the means and powers of its accomplishment, and the 
prescription of the ways whereby we are so to be interested 
in it, and made partakers of the benefits of it. But in the in- 
quiry after the procuring cause of the new covenant, it is the 
first thing that ought to come under consideration. For nothing 
can be the procuring cause of the covenant which is not so of 
this spring and fountain of it, of this idea of it in the mind of 
God, of the preparation of its terms and benefits. But this is 
nowhere in the Scripture atiirmed to be the effect of the death 
or mediation of Christ ; and to ascribe it thereto, is to over- 
throw the whole freedom of eternal grace and love. Neither 
can any thing that is absolutely eternal, as is this decree and 
counsel of God, be the etfect of, or procured by any thing that 
is external and temporal. 

2. It may be considered with respect to the federal transac- 
tions between the Father and the Son, concerning the accom- 
plishment of this counsel of his will. What these were, wherein 
they consisted, I have declared at large ; Exercitat. vol. 2. 
Neither do I call this the covenant of grace absolutely, nor is it 


SO called in the Scripture. Bat yet some will not distinguish be- 
tween the covenant of the mediator, and the covenant of grace, 
because the promises of the covenant absolutely are said to be 
made to Christ, Gal. iii. 16 ; and he is the Ttpi^rov hcxtixov, or first 
subject of all the grace of it. Bat in the covenant of the me- 
diator, Christ stands alone for himself, and undertakes for him- 
self alone, and not as the representative of the church. But 
this he is in the covenant of grace. But this is that wherein it 
had its designed establishment as to all the ways, means, and 
ends of its accomplishment ; and all things so disposed as that 
it might be effectnal to the eternal glory of the wisdom, grace, 
righteousness, and power of God. Wherefore the covenant of 
grace could not be procured by any means or cause, but that 
which was the cause of this covenant of the mediator, or of 
God the Father with the Son, as undertaking the work of me- 
diation. And as this is nov,''here ascribed to the death of Christ 
in the Scripture, so to assert it, is contrary to all spiritual rea- 
son and understanding. Who can conceive that Christ by his 
death should procure the agreement between God and him, 
that he should die ? 

3. With respect to the declaration of it by especial revela- 
tion. This we may call God's making or establishing it, if we 
please ; thoQgh jnaking of the covenant in Scripture, is applied 
principally, if not only, to its execution or actual application to 
persons. 2 Sam. xxiii. 5 ; Jerem. xxxii. 40. This declaration 
of the grace of God, and the provision in the covenant of the 
mediator for the making of it effectual to his glory, is most 
usually called the covenant of grace. And this is twofold, 

1. In the way of a singular and absolute promise; so was it 
first declared to, and established with Adam, and afterwards 
with Abraham. The promise is the declaration of the purpose 
of God before declared, or the free determination and counsel 
of his will, as to his dealing with sinners on the supposition of 
the fall, and their forfeiture of the first covenant state. Hereof 
the grace and will of God was the only cause. Heb. viii. 8. 
And the death of Christ could not be the means of its procure- 
ment, for he himself and all that he was to do for us, was the 
substance of that promise. And this promise as it is declara- 
tive of the purpose or counsel of the will of God, for the com- 
munication of grace and glory to sinners, in and by the media- 
tion of Christ, according to the ways and on the terms prepared 
and disposed in his sovereign wisdom and pleasure, is formally 
the new covenant, though something yet is to be added to com- 


plete its application to us. Now the substance of the first pro- 
mise, wherein the whole covenant of grace was virtually com- 
prised, directly respected and expressed the giving of him for 
the recovery of mankind from sin and misery by his death, 
Gen. iii. 15. Wherefore if he, and all the benefits of his me- 
diation, his death and all the effects of it, be contained in the 
promise of the covenant, that is, in the covenant itself, then 
was not his death the procuring cause of that covenant, nor 
do we owe it thereto. 

2. In the additional prescription of the way and means 
Avhereby it is the will of God, that we shall enter into a cove- 
nant state with him, or be interested in the benefits of it. This 
being virtually comprised in the absolute promise (for every 
promise of God tacitly requires faith and obedience in us) is 
expressed in other places by the way of the condition required 
on our part. This is not the covenant, but the constitution of 
the terms on our part, whereon we are made partakers of it. 
Nor is the constitution of these terms, an effect of the death of 
Christ, or procured thereby. It is a mere effect of the sovereign 
grace and wisdom of God. The things themselves as bestow- 
ed on us, communicated to us, wrought in us by grace, are all 
of them effects of the death of Christ ; but the constitution of 
them to be the terms and conditions of the covenant is an act 
of mere sovereign wisdom and grace. " God so loved the world 
as to send his only begotten son" to die, not that faith and re- 
pentance might be the means of salvation, but that all his elect 
might believe, and that all that believe " might not perish, but 
have life everlasting." But yet it is granted that the constitu- 
tion of these terms of the covenant respects the federal transac- 
tion between the Father and the Son, wherein they were or- 
dered to the praise of the glory of God's grace ; and so al- 
though their constitution was not the procurement of his death, 
yet without respect to it, it had not been. Wherefore the sole 
cause of God's making the new covenant, was the same with 
that of giving Christ himself to be our mediator, namely, the 
purpose, counsel, goodness, grace and love of God, as it is 
every where expressed in the Scripture. 

4thly, The covenant may be considered as to the actual ap- 
plication of the grace, benefit and privileges of it to any per- 
sons, whereby they are made real partakers of them, or are 
taken into covenant with God. And this alone in the Scrip- 
ture is intended by God's making a covenant with any. It is 
not a general revelation, or declaration of the terms and nature 



of the covenant (which some call a universal conditional cove- 
nant, on what grounds they know best, seeing the very formal 
nature of making a covenant with any, includes the actual ac- 
ceptation of it, and participation of the benefits of it by them) 
but a communication of the grace of it, accompanied with a 
prescription of obedience, that is God's making his covenant 
with any, as all instances of it in the Scripture declare. 

It may be therefore inquired, what respect the covenant of 
grace has to the death of Christ, or what influence it has up- 
on it. 

I answer, supposing what is spoken of his being a surety 
thereof, it has a threefold respect thereto. 

1. In that the covenant, as the grace and glory of it were 
prepared in the counsel of God, as the terms of it were fixed 
in the covenant of the Mediator, and as it was declared in the 
promise, was confirmed, ratified, and made irrevocable there- 
by. This our Apostle insists upon at large, Heb. ix. 15 — 20. 
And he compares his blood in his death and sacrifice of himself, 
to the sacrifices and their blood wbereby the old covenant was 
confirmed, purified, dedicated or established, ver. 18, 19. Now 
these sacrifices did not procure that covenant, or prevail with 
God to enter into it ; but only ratified and confirmed it ; and 
this was done in the new covenant by the blood of Christ. 

2. He thereby underwent and performed all that which in 
the righteousness and wisdom of God was required, that the 
effects, fruits, benefits and grace, intended, designed, and pre- 
pared in the new covenant might be effectually accomplished, 
and communicated to sinners. Hence although he procured 
not the covenant for us by his death, yet he was in his person, 
mediation, life and death, the only cause and means whereby 
the whole grace of the covenant is made effectual to us. For, 

3. All the benefits of it were procured by him ; that is, all the 
grace, mercy, privileges and glory that God has prepared in the 
counsel of his will, that were fixed as to the way of this com- 
munication in the covenant of the Mediator, and proposed in 
the promises of it, are purchased, merited, and procured by his 
death ; and effectually communicated or applied to all the co- 
venanters by virtue thereof, with others of his mediatory acts. 
And this is mucli more an eminent procuring of the new cove- 
nant, than what is pretended about the procurement of its terms 
and conditions. For if he should have procured no more but 
this, if we owe this only to his mediation, that God would there- 
on, or did grant and establish this rule, law, and promise, that 


whoever believed should be saved, it were possible that no one 
should be saved thereby ; yea, if he did no more, considering 
our state and condition, it was impossible that any one should 
be saved. 

To give the sum of these things, it is inquired with respect 
to which of these considerations of the new covenant, it is 
affirmed that it was procured by the death of Christ. If it be 
said, that it is with respect to the actual communication of all 
tlie grace and glory prepared in the covenant, and proposed to 
us in the promises of it, it is most true. All the grace and 
glory promised in the covenant was purchased for the chiu'ch 
by Jesus Christ. In this sense by his death he procured the 
new covenant. This the whole Scripture from the beginning 
of it in the first promise to the end of it, bears witness to. 
For it is in him alone that " God blesses us with all spiritual 
blessings in heavenly things." Let all the good things that 
are mentioned or promised in the covenant expressly, or by 
just consequence, be summed up, and it will be no hard mat- 
ter to demonstrate concerning them all, and that both jointly 
and severally, that they were all procured for us by the obe- 
dience and death of Christ. 

But this is not that which is intended. For most of this 
opinion deny that the grace of the covenant in conversion to 
God, the remission of sins, sanctification, justification, adoption 
and the like, are the effects or procurements of the death of 
Christ. And on the other hand they declare, that it is God's 
making of the covenant which they intend : that is, the con- 
trivance of the terms and conditions of it, with their proposal 
to mankind for their recovery. But herein there is ovhiv vyni. 

1. The Lord Christ himself, and the whole work of his me- 
diation, as the ordinance of God for the recovery and salvation 
of lost sinners, is the first and principal promise of the cove- 
nant. So his exhibition in the flesh, his work of mediation 
therein with our deliverance thereby, was the subject of that 
first promise, which virtually contained this whole covenant. 
So he was of the renovation of it to Abraham when it was 
solemnly confirmed by the oath of God, Gal. iii. 16, 17. And 
Christ did not by his death procure the promise of his death, 
nor of his exhibition in the flesh, or his coming into the world, 
that he might die. 

2. The making of this covenant is every where in the Scrip- 
ture ascribed (as is also the sending of Christ himself to die) 


to the love, grace and wisdom of God alone ; no where to the 
death of Christ, as the actual communication of all grace and 
glory is. Let all the places be considered, where either the 
giving of the promise, the sending of Christ, or the making of 
the covenant is mentioned, either expressly or virtually, and 
in none of them are they assigned to any other cause, but the 
grace, love, and wisdom of God alone, all to be made etfectual 
to us, by the mediation of Christ. 

3. The assignation of the sole end of the death of Christ to 
be the procurement of the new covenant in the sense contend- 
ed for, really makes void all the virtue of the death of Christ 
and of the covenant itself. For (1) the covenant which they 
intend, is nothing but the constitution and proposal of new 
terms and conditions for life and salvation to all men. Now 
Avhereas the acceptance and accomplishment of these condi- 
tions, depend upon the wills of men no way determined by ef- 
fectual grace, it was possible that notwithstanding all Christ 
did by his death, yet no one sinner might be saved thereby, 
but that the whole end and design of God therein might be 
frustrated. (2) Whereas the substantial advantage of these 
conditions lies herein, that God will now for the sake of Christ, 
accept of an obedience, inferior to that required in the law, and 
so as that the grace of Christ does not raise up all things to a 
conformity and compliance with the holiness and will of God 
declared therein, but accommodate all things to our present 
condition, nothing can be invented more dishonourable to 
Christ and the gospel. For what does it else but make Christ 
the minister of sin, in disanuUing the holiness that the law re- 
quires, or the obligation of the law to it, without any provision 
of what might answer, or come into the room of it, but that 
which is incomparably less worthy. Nor is it consistent with 
divine wisdom, goodness and immutability, to appoint man- 
kind a law of obedience, and cast them all under the severest 
penalty upon the transgression of it, when he could in justice 
and honour, have given them such a law of obedience, whose 
observance might consist with many failings and sins. For 
if he have done that now, he could have done so before, and 
how far this reflects on the glory of the divine properties, 
might be easily manifested. Neither does this fond imagina- 
tion comply with those testimonies of Scripture, that the Lord 
Christ "came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it," that he 
is the end of the law, and that by faith the law is not disa 
nulled but established. 


Lastly, the Lord Christ was the mediator and surety of the 
new covenant, in and by whom it was ratified, confirmed and 
established; and therefore by him the constitution of it was 
not procured. For all the acts of his office belong to that me- 
diation ; and it cannot be well apprehended how any act of 
mediation for the establishment of the covenant and rendering 
it effectual, should procure it. 

But to return from this digression ; that, wherein all the prece- 
dent causes of the union between Christ and believers, whence 
they become one mystical person, centre, and whereby they 
are rendered a complete foundation of the imputation of their 
sins to him, and of his righteousness to them, is the commu- 
nication of his Spirit, the same Spirit that dwelleth in him, to 
them, to abide in, to animate and guide the whole mystical 
body and all its members. But this has of late been so much 
spoken to, that I shall do no more but mention it. 

On the considerations hisisted on, whereby the Lord Christ 
became one mystical person with the church, or bare the per- 
son of the church in what he did as mediator, in the holy, wise 
disposal of God as the author of the law, the supreme rector 
or governor of all mankind, as to their temporal and eternal 
concernments, and by his own consent, the sins of all the elect 
were imputed to him. This, having been the faith and language 
of the Church in all ages, and that derived from and founded 
in express testimonies of Scripture, with all the promises and 
presignations of his exhibition in the flesh from the beginning, 
cannot now with any modesty be expressly denied. Wherefore 
the Socinians themselves grant that our sins may be said to be 
imputed to Christ, and he to undergo the punishment of them, 
so far as that all things which befell him evil and afliictive in 
this life, with the death which he underwent, were occasioned 
by our sins. For had not we sinned, there had been no need 
of, nor occasion for his suffering. But notwithstanding this 
concession they expressly deny his satisfaction, or that properly 
he underwent the punishment due to our sins ; wherein they 
deny also all imputation of them to him. Others say that 
our sins were imputed to him, quoad reatum poencc, as to the 
guilt of the punishment, but not quoad reatum culpcE, as to 
the guilt of the fault. But I must acknowledge that to me this 
distinction gives inanem sine mente soniim, an empty un- 
meaning sound. The substance of it is much insisted on by 
Feuardentius, Dialog. 5. pag. 467. And he is followed by 
others. That which he would prove by it, is, that the Lord 



Christ did not present liimself before the throne of God, with 
the burden of our sins upon him, so as to answer to the justice 
of God for them. Whereas therefore reatus, or guih, may sig- 
nify either dignitatem pawnee or obligationem ad pcenam, as 
Beilarmine distinguishes, de Amiss. Grat. lib. 7. cap. 7. with 
respect to Christ, tlie latter only is to be admitted. And the 
main argument he and others insist upon, is this ; that if our 
sins be imputed to Christ, as to the guilt of the fault, as they 
speak, then he must be polluted with them, and thence be de- 
nominated a sinner in every kind. And this would be true, if 
our sins could be communicated to Christ by transfusion, so as 
to be his inherently and subjectively. But their behigso only 
by imputation gives no countenance to any such pretence. 
However there is a notion of legal uncleanness, where there is 
no inherent defilement. So the priest who offered the red heifer 
to make atonement, and he that burned her, were said to be 
" unclean." Numb. xix. 7, S. But hereon they say, that Christ 
died and suffered npon the special command of God, not that 
his death and suffering were any way due upon the account of 
our sins, or required in justice ; which is utterly to overthrow 
the satisfaction of Christ. 

Wherefore the design of this distinction, is to deny the impu- 
tation of the guilt of our sins to Christ ; and then in what toler- 
able sense they can be said to be imputed to him, I cannot un- 
derstand. But we are not tied up to arbitrary distinctions, and 
the sense that any are pleased to impose on the terms of them. 
I shall therefore first inquire into the meaning of these words, 
gnih and guilty, whereby we may be able to judge of what it 
is, which in this distinction is intended. 

The Hebrews have no other word to signify guilt or guilty 
but crrx. And this they use both for sin, the guilt of it, the 
punishment due to it, and a sacrifice for it. Speaking of the 
guilt of blood, they use not any word to signify guilt, but only 
say ^ai it is " blood to him." So David prays "deliver me 
D'c-'n from blood," which we render •' blood-guiltiness." Psa. 
li. 14. And this was because by the constitution of God, he 
that was guilty of blood, was to die by the hand of the magis- 
trate or of God himself. But s--'^' ascham is no where used 
for guilt, but it signifies the relation of the sin intended to 
punishment. And other significations of it will be in vaiii 
sought for in the Old Testament. 

In the New Testament, he that is guilty, is said to be irtoSizoj, 
Rom. iii. 19, that is, obnoxious to judgment or vengeance for 


sin ; one that 57 5tx>? ^rjv ovx iiantv, as they speak, Acts xxviii. 4, 
whom vengeance will not suffer to go unpunished. And hoxoi, 
1 Cor. xi. 27, a word of the same signification. Once by 6^fixw, 
Matt, xxiii. 18, to owe, to be indebted to justice. To be ob- 
noxious, liable to justice, vengeance, punishment for sin, is to 
be guilty. 

Reus, guilty, in the Latin, is of a large signification. He who 
is crimiui obnoxius, or pamcB propter crimen, or voti debitor, 
or fromissi, or officii ex sponsio?ie, is called reus. Especially 
every sponsor or surety, is reus in the law. Cum servus pe- 
cuniam pro Ubertate pactus est, et ob eam rem, reum dederit, 
(that is, sponsorem, expromissorem) quamvis servus ah alio 
manumissiis est, reus tamen ohligabitur. He is reus who 
engages himself for any other, as to the matter of his engage- 
ment. And the same j^ the use of the word in the best Latin 
authors. Opportuna loca dividenda prcafectis esse ac suce 
quisque -partis tutandcB reus sit. Liv. de Bello Punic, lib. 5. 
•• That every captain should so take care of the station commit- 
ted to him, as that if any thing happened amiss, it should be 
imputed to him." And the same author again, at quicunque 
aut peopinquitate ant affinitate regia?n co7itigissent, aliencB 
cuIpcB rei trucidarentur, " should be guilty of the fault of an- 
other," (by imputation) " and suffer for it." So that in the Latin 
tongue lie is reus, who for himself or any other is obnoxious 
to punishment or payment. 

Reatus is a word of late admission into the Latin tongue, 
and was formed of reus. So Quintilian informs us in his dis- 
course on the use of obsolete and new words, lib. 8. cap. 3. 
Quce Vetera nunc sunt, fuerunt olim nova; qucedam in usu 
perquam recentia. Messala primus reatuyn, munerariuin Augustus 
dixcrunt ; to which he adds, piratica, musica, and some 
others then newly come into use. But reatus at its first inven- 
tion was of no such signification as it is now applied to. I 
mention it only to show, that we have no reason to be ob- 
liged to men's arbitrary use of words. Some lawyers first 
used it, pro crimine, a feult, exposing to punishment. But the 
original invention of it continued by long use, was to express 
the outward state and condition of him who was reus, after he 
was first charged An a cause criminal, before he was acquitted 
or condemned. Those among the Romans who were made 
rei by any public accusation, betook themselves to a poor, 
squalid habit, a sorrowful countenance, suffering their hair and 
beards to go undressed ; hereby on custom and usage, the people 

224 coxsEQiTXCEs OF christ's being one 

who were to judge on their cause, were indined to compassion 
And Milo furthered his sentence of banishment, because he 
would not submit to this custom which had such an appear- 
ance of pusillanimity and baseness of spirit. This state of sor- 
row and trouble so expressed, they called reatus and nothing 
else. It came afterwards to denote their state who were com- 
mitted to custody in order to their trial, when the government 
ceased to be popular, wherein alone the other artifice was of 
use. And if this word be of any use in our present argument, 
it is to express the slate of men after conviction of sin, before 
their justification. That is their reatus, the condition wherein 
the proudest of them cannot avoid to express their inward sor- 
row and anxiety of mind, by some outward evidences of them. 
Beyond this we are not obliged by the use of this word, but 
must consider the thing itself which naw we intend to express 

Gui/t, in the Scripture, is the respect of sin to the sanction 
of the law, whereby the sinner becomes obnoxious to punish- 
ment. And to be guilty is to be vTcoS<,xoi rw ®(u, liable to punish- 
ment for sin, from God, as the supreme Lawgiver and Judge 
of all. And so guilt or reatus is well defined to be ohiigatio ad 
pcenam, propter culpam, aut admissam in se, aut imputatam, 
juste aut injuste. For so Bathsheba says to David, that she and 
her son Solomon should be =>s-n "sinners," that is, be esteem- 
ed guilty or liable to punishment for some evil laid to their 
charge. 1 Kings i. 21. And the distinction of dignitas pcencB, 
and obligatio ad paenam, is but the same thing in divers words. 
For both do but express the relation of sin to the sanction of 
the law, or if they may be conceived to differ, yet are they in- 
separable, for there can be no obligatio ad poiJiam, where there 
is no dignitas pcEHCB. 

Much less is there any thing of weight in the distinction of 
reatus culpce and reatus pawnee. For this reatus culpcB is no- 
thing but c//g-7t/fas pcen(2?/>ro/?fer culpam. Sin has other consi- 
derations, namely, its formal nature, as it is a transgression of 
the law ; and the stain of filth that it brings upon the soul ; but 
the guilt of it is nothing but its respect to punishment from 
the sanction of the law. And so indeed reatus culpcB or reatus 
puence; the guilt of sin, is its desert of punishment. And 
where there is not this reatus culpa;, there can be no pasnce, no 
punishme7U properly so called. For posna is vindicta noxce, 
the revenge due to sin. So therefore there can be no punish- 
ment, nor reatus pance, the guilt of it, but there is rca- 


MS culpcB, or sin considered with its guilt. And the reatus paw- 
nee, that may be supposed without the guik of sin, is nothing 
but that obnoxiousness to afflictive evil on the occasion of sin, 
which the Socinians admit with respect to the suffering of 
Christ, and yet execrate his satisfaction. 

And if this distinction should be apprehended to be of reatus, 
from its formal respect to sin and punishment, it must in 
both parts of the distinction be of the same signification, other- 
wise there is an equivocation in the subject of it. But reatus 
pmnce is a liableness, an obnoxiousness to punishment, accord- 
ing to the sentence of the law ; that whereby a sinner Ijecomes 
vnobixoi ru, 0fw. And then reatus culpa must be an obnoxious- 
ness to sin, which is uncouth. There is therefore no imputa- 
tion of sin, where there is no imputation of its guilt. For the 
guilt of punishment, which is not its respect to the desert of 
sin, is a plain fiction ; there is no such thing in rerum natura. 
There is no guilt of sin, but its relation to punishment. 

That therefore which we affirm herein is ; that our sins were 
so transferred to Christ, that thereby he became qc-n inohLxoi ru 
©fj, reus, responsible to God, and obnoxious to punishment 
in the justice of God for them. He was alienee culpce reus, per- 
fectly innocent in himself; but took our guilt on him, or oui: 
obnoxiousness to punishment for sin. And so he may be, and 
may be said to be the greatest debtor in the world who never 
borrowed or owed one farthing on his own account, if he be- 
come surety for the greatest debt of others. So Paul became 
a debtor to Philemon, upon his undertaking for Onesimus, 
though before he owed him nothing. 

And two things concurred to this imputation of sin to Christ. 
(1) The act of God imputing it. (2) The voluntary act of 
Christ himself in the undertaking of it, or admitting of the 

1. The act of God in this imputation of the guilt of our sins 
to Christ, is expressed by his laying all our iniquities upon him, 
making him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, and the like. 
For (f) as the supreme governor, lawgiver, and judge of all, 
to whom it belonged to take care that his holy law was ob- 
served, or the offenders punished, he admitted upon the trans- 
gression of it, the sponsion and suretyship of Christ to answer 
for the sins of men, Heb. x. 5 — 7. (2) In order to this end, he 
made him under the law, or gave the law power over him, to 
demand of him, and inflict on him the penalty which was due 
to the sins of them for whoiu he undertook, Gal. iii. 13 ; iv. 4, 


5. (3) For the declaration of the righteousness of God in this 
setting forth of Clirist to be a propitiation, and to bear our ini- 
quities, the guilt of our sins was transferred to him in an act of 
the righteous judgment of God, accepting and esteeming of him 
as the guilty person ; as it is with public sureties in every case. 

2. The Lord Christ's volnntary susception of the state and 
condition of a surety, or undertaker for the church, to appear 
before the throne of God's justice for them, to answer whatever 
was laid to their charge, was required hereto. And this he did 
absolutely. There was a concurrence of his own will in and 
to all those divine acts whereby he and the Church were con- 
stituted one mystical person. And of his own love and grace 
did he as our surety stand in our stead before God, when he 
made inquisition for sin ; he took it on lumself, as to the pun- 
ishment which it deserved. Hence it became just and right- 
eous that he should suffer, " the just for the unjust that he 
might bring us unto God." For if this be not so, I desire to 
know what is become of the guilt of the sins of believers ; if it 
were not transferred to Christ, it remains still upon themselves, 
or it is nothing. It will be said that guilt is taken away by the 
free pardon of sin. But if so, there was no need of punishment 
for it at all ; which is indeed what the Socinians plead, but by 
others is not admitted. For if punishment be not for guilt, it 
is not punishment. 

But it is fiercely objected against what we have asserted, 
that if the guilt of our sins was imputed to Christ, then was he 
constituted a sinner thereby ; for it is the guilt of sin that makes 
any one to be truly a sinner. This is urged by Bellarmine ; lib. 
2. de Justificat. not for its own sake, but to disprove the imputa- 
tion of his righteousness to us, as it is continued by others with 
the same design. For, saith he, " if we be made righteous, 
and the children of God through the imputation of the right- 
eousness of Christ, then was he made a sinner, et fjuod honrt 
aimnus cogitore, fiUus Diaholi, by the imputation of the guilt 
of our sins, or our unrighteousness to him." And the same ob- 
jection is pressed by others, with instances of consequences, 
which for many reasons I heartily wish had been forborne. 
But I answer, 

1. Nothing is more absolutely true, nothing is more sacredly 
or assuredly believed by us, than, that nothing which Christ 
did or suffered, nothing that he undertook or underwent, did or 
could constitute him, subjectively, hiherently, and thereon per- 
sonally a sinner, or guilty of any sin of his own. To bear the 


guilt or blame of other men's faults, to be aliencB cuIpcB reus, 
makes no man a sinner, unless he did unwisely or irregularly 
undertake it. But that Christ should admit of any thing of sin 
in himself, as it is absolutely inconsistent with the hypostatical 
union, so it would render him unmeet for all other duties of his 
office. Heb. vii. 25, 26. And I confess it has always seemed 
scandalous to me, that Socinus, Crellius, and Grotius grant 
that in some sense Christ offered for his own sins, and would 
prove it from that very place wherein it is positively denied, 
Heb. vii. 27. This ought to be sacredly fixed, and not a word 
used, nor thought entertained of any possibility of the contrary, 
upon any supposition whatever. 

2. None ever dreamed of a transfusion or propagation of sin 
from us to Christ, such as there was from Adam to us. For 
Adam was a connnon person to us, we are not so to Christ ; 
yea he is so to us ; and the imputation of our sins to him, is a 
singular act of divine dispensation, which no evil consequence 
can ensue upon. 

3. To imagine such an imputation of our sins to Christ, as 
that thereon they should cease to be our sins, and become his 
absolutely, is to overthrow that which is affirmed. For on that 
supposition Christ would not suffer for our sins, for they ceased 
to be ours, antecedently to his sufferings. But the guilt of them 
was so transferred to him, that through his suffering for it, it 
might be pardoned to us. 

These things being premised, I say, 

1. There is in sin a transgression of the preceptive part of 
the law, and there is an obnoxiousness to the punishment from 
the sanction of it. It is the first that gives sin its formal nature, 
and where that is not subjectively, no person can be constituted 
formally a sinner. However any one may be so denominated 
as to some certain end or purpose, yet without this, formally a 
sinner none can be, whatever be imputed to him. And where 
that is, no non-imputation of sin as to punishment, can free the 
person in whom it is, from being formally a sinner. When 
Bathsheba told David that she and her son Solomon should be 
aw^n " sinners," by having crimes laid to their charge ; and 
when Judah told Jacob, that he would be a " sinner before him 
always," on account of any evil that befel Benjamin, (it should 
be imputed to him) yet neither of them could thereby be con- 
stituted a sinner formally. And on the other hand, when Shiniei 
desired David not to impute sin to him, whereby he escaped 
present punishmeni, yet did not that non-imputation free him 


formally from being a sinner. Wherefore sin under this con- 
sideration as a transgression of the preceptive part of the law, 
cannot be communicated from one to another, unless it be by 
the propagation of a vitiated principle or habit. But yet neither 
so will the personal sin of one as inherent in him, ever come to 
be the personal sin of another. Adam has upon his personal 
sin communicated a vicious, depraved, and corrupted nature to 
all his posterity ; and besides, the guilt of his actual sin is im- 
puted to them, as if it had been committed by every one of 
them. But yet his particular personal sin, neither ever did, 
nor ever could become the personal sin of any one of them, any 
otherwise than by the imputation of its guilt to them. Where- 
fore our sins neither are, nor can be so imputed to Christ, as 
that they should become subjectively his, as they are a trans- 
gression of the preceptive part of the law. A physical transla- 
tion or transfusion of sin is in this case naturally and spiritually 
impossible ; and yet on a supposition thereof alone, do the hor- 
rid consequences mentioned depend. But the guilt of sin is 
an external respect of it, with regard to the sanction of the law 
only. This is separable from sin, and if it were not so, no one 
sinner could either be pardoned or saved. It may therefore be 
made another's by imputation, and yet that other not rendered 
formally a sinner thereby. This was that which was imputed 
to Christ, whereby he was rendered obnoxious to the curse 
of the law. For it was impossible that the law should pro- 
nounce any accursed but the guilty ; nor would do so, Deut. 
xxvii. 26. 

2. There is a great difference between the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ to us, and the imputation of our sins to 
Christ ; so as that he cannot in the same manner be said to be 
made a sinner by the one, as we are made righteous by the 
other. For our sin was imputed to Christ only, as he was our 
surety for a time ; to this end, that he might take it away, de- 
stroy it and abolish it. It was never imputed to him, so as to 
make any alteration absolutely in his personal state and condi- 
tion. But his righteousness is imputed to us, to abide with us, 
to be ours always, and to make a total change in our state and 
condition as to our relation to God. Our sin was imputed to 
him, only for a season, not absolutely, but as he was a surety, 
and to the special end of destroying it ; and taken on him, on 
this condition that his righteousness should be made ours for 
ever. All things are otherwise in the imputation of his right- 
•iousness to us, which respects us absolutely, and not under 


a temporary capacity, abides with us for ever, changes our 
state and relation to God, and is an effect of superabounding 

But it will be said, that if our sins as to the guilt of them 
were imputed to Christ, then God must hate Christ ; for he 
hateth the guilty. I know not well how I come to mention 
these things, which indeed I look upon as cavils, such as men 
may multiply if they please, against any part of the mysteries 
of the gospel. But seeing it is mentioned, it may be spoken 
to. And 

(1) It is certain that the Lord Christ's taking on him the guilt 
of our sins, was a high act of obedience to God, Heb. x. 5, 6 ; 
and for which the Father loved him. John x. 17, 18. There 
was therefore no reason why God should hate Christ, for his 
taking on him our debt and the payment of it, in an act of the 
highest obedience to his will. (2) God in this matter is consi- 
dered as a rector, ruler and judge. Now it is not required of the 
severest judge, that as a judge he should hate the guilty person, 
no, although he be guilty originally by inhesion and not by im- 
putation. As such, he has no more to do, but consider the guilt 
and pronounce the sentence of p\niishment. But (3) suppose 
a person out of an heroic generosity of mind should become an 
Avti-:^vxo; for another, for his friend, for a good man, so as to 
answer for him with his life, as Judah undertook to be for Ben- 
jamin as to his liberty, which when a man has lost, he is civilly 
dead, and capite dimhiutus ; — would the most cruel tyrant 
under heaven that should take away his hfe, in that case, hate 
him ? would he not rather admire his worth and virtue ? As 
such an one it was that Christ suffered, and no otherwise. (4) 
All the force of this exception depends on the ambiguity of the 
word hate. For it may signify either an aversion or detesta- 
tion of mind, or only a will of punishing, as in God mostly it 
does. In the first sense there was no ground why God should 
hate Christ on this imputation of guilt to him ; whereby he be- 
came non proprice sed aliencB cuIpcB reus. Sin inherent renders 
the soul polluted, abominable, and the only object of divine 
aversion. But for him who was perfectly innocent, holy, 
harmless, undefiled in himself, who did no sin, neither was 
there guile found in his mouth, to take upon him the guilt of 
others' sins, thereby to comply with and accomplish the design 
of God for the manifestation of his glory and infinite wisdom, 
grace, goodness, mercy, and righteousness, to the certain expia- 
tion and destruction of sin, nothing could render him more glo- 



rious and lovely in the sight of God or man. But for a will of 
punishing in God, where sin is imputed, none can deny it, but 
they must therewith openly disavow the satisfaction of Christ. 
The heads of some few of those arguments wherewith the 
truth we have asserted is confirmed, shall close this discourse. 

1. Unless the guilt of sin was imputed to Christ, sin was not 
imputed to him in any sense ; for the punishment of sin is not 
sin ; nor can those who are otherwise minded, declare what it 
is of sin, that is imputed. But the Scripture is plain, that " God 
laid on him the iniquity of us all ;" and made him to be sin for 
us, which could not otherwise be but by imputation. 

2. There can be no punishment but with respect to the guilt 
of sin personally contracted, or imputed. It is guilt alone that 
gives what is materially evil and afflictive the formal nature of 
punishment, and nothing else. And therefore those who under- 
stand full well the harmony of things and opinions, and are 
free to express their minds, constantly declare, that if one of 
these be denied, the other must be so also ; and if one be admit- 
ted they must both be so. If guilt was not imputed to Christ, 
he could not, as they plead well enough, undergo the punish- 
ment of sin ; much he might do and suffer on the occasion of 
sin, but undergo the punishment due to sin he could not. And 
if it should be granted that the guilt of sin was imputed to him, 
they will not deny but that he underwent the punishment of 
it ; and if he underwent the punishment of it, they will not 
deny but that the guilt of it was imputed to him ; for these 
things are inseparably related. 

3. Christ was made a " curse for us," the curse of the law ; 
as is expressly declared. Gal. iii. 13, 14. But the curse of the 
law respects the guilt of sin only ; so that where that is not, it 
cannot take place in any sense, and where tliat is, it insepara- 
bly attends it. Deut. xxvii. 26. 

4. The express testimonies of the Scripture to this purpose 
cannot be evaded, without an open wresting of their words and 
sense. So God is said to make all our iniquities to meet upon 
him ; and he bare them on him as his burden, for so the word 
signifies. Isa. liii. 6. " God hath laid on him the iniquity," that 
is, the guilt "of us all, ver. 11; "and their sin (or guilt) shall 
he bear." For that is the intendment of ]V, where joined with 
any other word that denotes sin as it is in those places ; Pi>a. 
xxxii. 5 ; " thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin," that is, the 
guilt of it, which is that alone that is taken away by pardon. 
So we read that " his soul was made an offering for the guilt of 


sin," " that he was made sin," " that sin was condemned in 
his flesh," &c. 

5. This was represented in all the sacrifices of old, especially 
the great anniversary on the day of expiation, with the ordi- 
nance of the scape goat, as has been before declared. 

6. Without a supposition hereof it cannot be understood, how 
the Lord Christ should be our Avti.^vxoi or sutfer ain r;uo>v, in 
our stead, unless we will admit the exposition of Mr. Ho, a late 
writer, wlio reckoning up how many things the Lord Christ did 
in our stead, adds as the sense thereof, that it is, "to bestead us;" 
than which if he can invent any thing more fond and sense- 
less, he has a singular faculty in such an employment. 



The principal differences about the doctrine of justification are 
reducible to three heads. (1) The nature of it ; namely, whether 
it consists in an internal change of the person justified by the 
infusionof a habit of inherent grace or righteousness; or whether 
it be a forensic act, in the judging, esteeming, declaring, and 
pronouncing such a person to be righteous, thereon absolving 
him from all his sins, giving to him right and title to life. Here- 
in we have to do only with those of the Church of Rome ; all 
others, both Protestants and Socinians, being agreed on the 
forensic sense of the word, and the nature of the thing signi- 
fied thereby. And this I have already spoken to, so far as our 
present design requires, and that I hope with such evidence of 
truth, as cannot well be gainsaid. Nor may it be supposed 
that we have too long insisted thereon, as an opinion which is 
obsolete, and long since sufficiently confuted. I think much 
otherwise, and that those who avoid the Romanists in these 
controversies, will give a greater appearance of fear, than of 
contempt. For when all is done, if free justification through 
the blood of Christ and the imputation of his righteousness, be 
not able to preserve its statio[i,in the minds of men, the Popish 
doctrine of justification must and will return upon the world, 


with all the concomitants and consequences of it. Whilst any 
knowledge of tiie law or gospel is continued amongst us, the 
consciences of men will at one time or other, living or dying, be 
really affected with a sense of sin, as to its guilt aud danger. 
Hence that trouble and those disquietrnents of mind will ensue, 
which will force men, be they never so unwilling, to seek after 
some relief and satisfaction. And what will not men attempt, 
who are reduced to the condition expressed. Micah. vi. 7, 8. 
Wherefore in this case, if the true and only relief of distressed 
consciences of sinners who are weary and heavy laden, be hid 
from their eyes; if they have no apprehension of, nor trust in that 
which alone they may oppose to the sentence of the law, and 
interpose between God's justice and their souls, wherein they 
may take shelter from the storms of that wrath which abides 
on them that believe not ; they will betake themselves to any 
thing which confidently tenders them present ease and relief. 
Hence many persons living all their days in an ignorance of 
the righteousness of God, are oftentimes on their sick beds, and 
in their dying hours, proselyted to a confidence in the ways of 
rest and peace, which the Romanists impose upon them. For 
such seasons of advantage do they wait for, to the reputation 
as they suppose of their own zeal, in truth to the scandal of the 
Christian religion. But finding at any time the consciences of 
men under disquietments, and ignorant of, or disbelieving that 
heavenly relief which is provided in the gospel, they are ready 
with their applications and medicines, having on them pretend- 
ed approbations of the experience of many ages, and an innu- 
merable company of devout souls in them. Such is their doc- 
trine of justification, with the addition of those other ingredients 
of confession, absolution, penances or commutations, aids from 
saints and angels, especially the blessed Virgin, all warmed by 
the fire of purgatory, and confidently administered to persons, 
sick of ignorance, darkness and sin. And let none please them- 
selves in the contempt of these things. If the truth concerning 
evangelical justification be once disbelieved among us, or obli- 
terated by any artifices, out of the minds of men, to these things 
at one time or other, they must and will betake themselves. 
For the new schemes and projections of justification which 
some at present would supply us with, are no way suited, nor 
able to give relief or satisfaction to a conscience really troubled 
for sin. and seriously inquiring how it may have rest and peace 
with God. I shall take the boldness therefore to say, whoever 
be offended at it, that if we lose the ancient doctrine of justifi- 


cation through faith in the blood of Christ, and the imputation 
of his righteousness to us, public profession of religion will 
quickly issue in popery or atheism, or at least in what is the 
next door to it. 

The second principal controversy is about the formal cause 
of justification, as it is expressed and stated by those of the 
Roman church. And under these terms some Protestant di- 
vines have consented to debate the matter in difference. I shall 
not interpose into a strife of words. So the Romanists will call 
that which we inquire after. Some of ours say, the righteous- 
ness of Christ imputed ; some, the imputation of the righteous- 
ness of Christ, is the formal cause of our justification ; some, 
that there is no formal cause of justification, but this is that 
which supplies the place and use of a formal cause, which is 
the righteousness of Christ. In none of these things will I con- 
cern myself, though I judge what was mentioned in the last 
place, to be most proper and significant. 

The substance of the inquiry wherein alone we are concern- 
ed is, what is that righteousness whereby, and wherewith, a 
believing sinner is justified before God; or whereon he is ac- 
cepted with God, has his sins pardoned, is received into grace 
and favour, and has a tide given him to the heavenly inherit- 
ance ? I shall no otherwise propose this inquiry, as knowing 
that it contains the substance of what convinced sinners look 
after in and by the gospel. 

And herein it is agreed by all, the Socinians only excepted, 
that the primary or procuring cause of the pardon of our sins, 
and acceptance with God, is the satisfaction and merit of Christ. 
Howbeit it cannot be denied, but that some retaining the names 
of them, seem to renounce or disbelieve the things themselves. 
But we need not to take any notice thereof, until they are free 
more plainly to express their minds. But as concerning the 
righteousness itself inquired after, there seems to be a difference 
among them, who yet all deny it to be the righteousness of 
Christ imputed to us. For those of the Roman church plainly 
say, that upon the infusion of a habit of grace, with the expul- 
sion of sin and the renovation of our natures thereby, which 
they call the first justification, we are actually justified before 
God, by our own works of righteousness. Hereon they dispute 
about the merit and satifactoriness of those works, with their 
condignity of the reward of eternal life. Others as the Socinians 
openly disclaim all merit in our works ; only some, out of reve- 
rence as I suppose, to the antiquity of the word, and under the 



shelter of the ambiguity of its signification, have faintly at- 
tempted an accommodation with it. But in the substance of 
what they assent to this purpose, to the best of my understand- 
ing, they are all agreed. For what the Papists call Justitia 
operum, " the righteousness of works," they call a personal 
inherent evangelical righteousness, whereof we have spoken 
before. And whereas the Papists say, that this righteousness 
of Avorks is not absolutely perfect, nor in itself able to justify us 
in the sight of God, but owes all its worth and dignity for this 
purpose to the merit of Christ, they affirm that this evangelical 
righteousness is the condition whereon we enjoy the benefits 
of the righteousness of Christ, in the pardon of our sins, and the 
acceptance of our persons before God. But as to those who 
will acknowledge no other righteousness wherewith we are 
justified before God, the meaning is the same, whether we say 
that on the condition of this righteousness we are made par- 
takers of the benefits of the righteousness of Christ ; or that it 
is the righteousness of Christ which makes this righteousness 
of ours accepted with God. But these things must afterwards 
more particularly be inquired into. 

3. The third inquiry wherein there is not an agreement in 
this matter is, upon a supposition of a necessity, that he who is 
to be justified, should one way or other be interested in the 
righteousness of Christ, what it is that on our part is required 
thereto. This some say to be faith alone, others faith and 
works also, and that in the same kind of necessity and use. 
What we at present undertake to consider, is tlie second thing 
proposed. And indeed, herein lies the substance of the whole 
controversy about our justification before God, upon the deter- 
mination and stating whereof, the determination of all other 
incident questions depends. 

This therefore is that which herein I aflirm : The righteous- 
ness of Christ (in his obedience and sutFering for us) imputed 
to believers, as they are united to hi}?i by his Spirit, is that right- 
eousness whereon they are justified before God, on account irhere- 
of ilieir sins are pardoned, and a right is granted them to the 
heavenly inheritance. 

This position is such as wherein the substance of that doc- 
trine in this important article of evangelical truth which we 
plead for, is plainly and fully expressed. And I have chosen 
the rather thus to express it, because it is that thesis wherein 
the learned Davenant laid down that common doctrine of the 
reformed churches whose defence he undertook. Tliis is the 


shield of truth in the whole cause of justification, which whilst 
it is preserved safe, we need not trouble ourselves about the 
ditferences that are among learned men, about the most proper 
stating and declaration of some lesser concernments of it. This 
is the refuge, the only refuge of distressed conscience, wherein 
they may find rest and peace. 

For the confirmation of this assertion, I shall do these three 
things: (1) Reflect on what is needful to the explanation of it. 

(2) Answer the most important general objections against it. 

(3) Prove the truth of it by arguments and testimonies of the 
Holy Scripture. 

As to the first of these, or what is necessary to the explana- 
tion of this assertion, it has been sufficiently spoken to in our 
foregoing discourses. The heads of some things only shall at 
present be called over. 

1. The foundation of the imputation asserted is union. 
Hereof there are many grounds and causes as has been de- 
clared. But that which we have immediate respect to as the 
foundation of this imputation, is that whereby the Lord Christ 
and believers actually coalesce into one mystical person. This 
is by the Holy Spirit inhabiting in him as the head of the 
church in all fulness, and in all believers according to their 
measure, whereby they become members of his mystical body. 
That there is such an union between Christ and believers, is 
the faith of the catholic Church, and has been so in all ages. 
Those who seem in our days to deny it or question it, either 
know not what they say, or their minds are influenced by the 
doctrine of those who deny the divine persons of the Son, and 
of the Spirit. Upon supposition of this union, reason will 
grant the imputation pleaded for to be reasonable ; at least, 
that there is such a peculiar ground for it, as is not to be ex- 
emplified in any things natural or political among men. 

2. The nature of imputation has been fully spoken to before, 
and thereto I refer the reader for the understanding of what is 
intended thereby. 

3. That which is imputed is the righteousness of Christ ; and 
briefly I understand hereby his whole obedience to God in all 
that he did and suffered for the church. This I say is imputed 
to believers, so as to become their only righteousness before 
God to the justification of life. 

If beyond these things any expressions have been made use 
of in the explanation of this truth, which have given occasion 
to any differences or contests, although they may be true and 


defensible against objections, yet shall not I concern myself in 
them. The substance of the truth as laid down, is that which 
I have undertaken to defend, and where that is granted or 
consented to, I will not contend with any about their way and 
methods of its declaration, nor defend the terms and expres- 
sions that have by any been made use of therein. For instance, 
some have said, that " what Christ did and suffered, is so im- 
puted to us, as that we are judged and esteemed in the sight of 
God to have done or suffered ourselves in him." This I shall 
not concern myself in. For although it may have a sound sense 
given to it, and is used by some of the ancients, yet because 
offence is taken at it, and the substance of the truth we plead 
for it is better otherwise expressed, it ought not to be contended 
about. For we do not say that God judges or esteems that we 
did and suffered in our own persons what Christ did and suf- 
fered, but only that he did it and suffered it in our stead. 
Hereon God makes a grant and donation of it to believers up- 
on their believing, to their justification before him. And the like 
may be said of many other expressions of the like nature. 

These things being premised, I proceed to the consideration 
of the general objections that are urged against the imputation 
we plead for. And I shall insist only on some of the principal 
of them, and whereinto all others may be resolved; for it were 
endless to go over all that any man's invention can suggest to 
him of this kind. And some general considerations we must 
take along with us herein. As, 

1. The doctrine of justification is a part, yea an eminent part 
of the mystery of the gospel. It is no marvel therefore if it be 
not so exposed to the common notions of reason, as some would 
have it to be. Tliere is more required to the true spiritual un- 
derstanding of such mysteries; yea, unless we intend to re- 
nounce the gospel, it must be asserted, that reason as it is cor- 
rupted, and the mind of man destitute of divine supernatural 
revelation, dislike every such truth, and rise up in enmity 
against it. So the Scripture directly affirms, Rom. viii. 7; 1 
Cor. ii. 14. 

2. Hence are the minds and inventions of men wonderfully 
fertile in coining objections against evangelical truths, and 
raising cavils against them. Seldom to this purpose do they 
want an endless number of sophistical objections, which be- 
cause they know no better, they themselves judge unanswer- 
able. For carnal reason being once set at liberty under the 
false notion of truth, to act itself freely and boldly against spi- 


ritual mysteries, is subtle in its arguiugs, and pregnant in 
its invention of them. How endless, for instance, are the 
sophisms of the Socinians against the doctrine of the Trinity^ 
and liow do they triumph in them as unanswerable. Under 
the shelter of them they despise the force of the most evident 
testimonies of the Scripture, and those multiplied on all occa- 
.iions. In like manner they deal with the doctrine of the satis- 
faction of Christ, as the Pelagians of old did with that of his 
grace. Wherefore he that will be startled at the appearance 
of subtle or plausible objections, against any gospel mysteries 
that are plainly revealed, and sufficiently attested in the Scrip- 
ture, is not Ukely to come to much stability in his profession of 

3. The most of the objections which are levied against the 
truth in this cause, arise from the want of a due comprehen- 
sion of the order of the work of God's grace, and of our com- 
pliance therewith in a way of duty, as was before observed. 
For they consist in opposing those things one to another as in- 
consistent, which in their proper place and order are not only 
consistent, but mutually subservient one to another ; and are 
found so in the experience of them that truly believe. Instances 
hereof have been given before, and others will immediately 
occur. Taking the consideration of these things with us, we 
may see the origin of the objections, and of what force they are. 

4. Let it be considered that the objections which are made 
use of against the truth we assert, are all of them taken from 
certain consequences, which as it is supposed, will ensue on 
the admission of it. And as this is the only expedient to per- 
petuate controversies, and make them endless, so to my best 
observation I never yet met with any one, but that, to give an 
appearance of force to the absurdity of the consequences from 
wherjce he argues, he framed his suppositions, or the state of 
the question, to the disadvantage of tliem who he opposed; a 
course of proceeding which I wonder good men are not either 
weary or ashamed of. 

1. It is objected, " that the imputation of the righteousness 
of Christ overthrows all remission of sins on the part of God.'' 
Tliis is pleaded for by Socinus, and by otliers it is also made 
use of. A confident charge this seems to them wlio steadfastly 
believe that witliout this nnputation, there could be no remis- 
sion of sm. But they say, that he who has a righteousness im- 
puted to him that is absolutely perfect, so as to be made his 
own, needs no pardon, has no sin that should be forgiven, nor 


can ever need forgiveness. But because this objection will 
occur to us again in the vindication of one of our ensuing argu- 
ments, I shall here briefly speak to it. 

(1.) Grotius shall answer this objection; he says,* " Whereas 
we have said that Christ has procured two things for us, free- 
dom from punisliment, and a reward ; the ancient Church attri- 
butes the former of tiiem distinctly to his satisfaction, the latter 
to his merit. Satisfaction consists in the transferring of sins, 
(from us unto him ;) merit, in the imputation to us of his most 
perfect obedience performed for us." In his judgment the re- 
mission of sins, and the imputation of righteousness, were as 
consistent as the satisfaction and merit of Christ, as indeed they 

(2.) Had we not been sinners, we should have had no need of 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to render us right- 
eous before God. Being so, the first end for which it is im- 
puted is the pardon of sin ; without which we could not be 
righteous by the imputation of the most perfect righteousness. 
These things therefore are consistent, namely, that the satisfac- 
tion of Christ should be imputed to us for the pardon of sin, 
and the obedience of Christ be imputed to us, to render us right- 
eous before God. And they are not only consistent, but neither 
of them singly were sufficient to our justification. • 

2. It is pleaded by the same author and others, ''that the im- 
putation of the righteousness of Christ, overthrows all necessity 
of repentance for sin, in order to the remission or pardon thereof, 
yea renders it altogether needless. For what need has he of 
repentance for sin, who by the imputation of the righteousness 
of Christ, is esteemed completely just and righteous in the sight 
of God ? If Christ satisfied for all sins in the person of the 
elect ; if as our surety he paid all our debts, and if his right- 
eousness be made ours before we repent, then is all repentance 
needless." And these things are much enlarged on by the 
same author in the place before mentioned. 

Answer (1) It must be remembered, that we require evan- 
gelical faith, in order of nature, antecedently to our justification 
by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to us, which 
also is the condition of its continuation. Wherefore whatever 
is necessary thereto, is in like manner required of us in order 
to believing. Amongst these, there is a sorrow for sin, and a 

* Cum duo nobis pcperisse Christum dixerimus, impiinitatem et praemium, 
jllud satisfactioni, hoc mcrito Christi distincte tribiiit vetus Ecclesia. Satis- 
factio consistit in peccatorurn translationc, meritnm in pert'ectissimae obe- 
dientisB pro nobis prajstlta; irnputatione. PriEfat. ad Lib. de Satisfact. 


repentance of it. For whosoever is convinced of sin in a due 
manner, so as to be sensible of its evil and guilt, both as in its 
own nature it is contrary to the preceptive part of the holy 
law, and in the necessary consequences of it, in the wrath and 
curse of God, cannot but be perplexed in his mind, that he has 
involved himself therein. And that posture of mind will be 
accompanied with shame, fear, sorrow, and other afflictive 
passions. Hereon a resolution ensues, utterly to abstain from 
it for the future, with sincere endeavours to that purpose, 
issuing, if there be time and space for it, in reformation of life. 
And in a sense of sin, sorrow for it, fear concerning it, absti- 
nence from it, and reformation of life, a repentance true in its 
kind consists. This repentance is usually called legal, because 
its motives are principally taken from the law ; but yet there 
is moreover required to it that temporary faith of the gospel 
which we have before described. And as it usually produces 
great effects in the confession of sin, humiliation for it, and 
change of life, as in Ahab and the Ninevites, so ordinarily it 
precedes true saving faith, and justification thereby. Where- 
fore the necessity hereof, is no way weakened by the doctrine 
of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, yea it is 
strengthened and made effectual thereby. For without it, in 
the order of the gospel, an interest therein is not to be attained. 
And this is that which in the Old Testament is so often proposed 
as the means and conditions of turning away the judgments 
and punishments threatened against sin. For it is true and 
shicere in its kind ; neither do the Socinians require any other 
repentance to justification. For as they deny true evangelical 
repentance in all the especial causes of it, so that which may 
and does precede faith in order of nature, is all that they re- 
quire. This objection therefore as managed by them, is a cause- 
less vain pretence. 

2. Justifying faith includes in its nature the entire principle 
of evangelical repentance, so that it is utterly impossible that 
a man should be a true believer, and not at the same instant 
of time be truly penitent. And therefore are they so fre- 
quently conjoined in the Scripture as one simultaneous duty. 
Yea the call of the gospel to repentance is a call to faith, act- 
ing itself by repentance. So the sole reason of that call to re- 
pentance which the forgiveness of sins is annexed to, (Acts ii. 
38,) is the proposal of the promise which is the object of faith, 
ver. 39. And those conceptions and affections which a man 
has about sin, with a sorrow for it and repentance of it, upon 


a legal conviction, being enlivened and made evangelical by 
the introduction of faith as a new principle of them, and giving 
new motives to them, become evangelical ; so impossible is 
it that faith should be without repentance. Wherefore al- 
though the first act of faith, and its only proper exercise to 
justification, respects the grace of God in Christ and the way 
of salvation by him, as proposed in tlie promise of the gospel, 
yet is not this conceived in order of time to precede its actings 
in self-displicency, godly sorrow, and universal conversion 
from sin to God; nor can it be so, seeing it virtually and radi- 
cally contains all of them in itself. However therefore evan- 
gelical repentance is not the condition of our justification, so 
as to have any direct influence upon it ; nor are we said any 
where to be justified by repentance ; nor is it conversant about 
the proper object which alone the soul respects therein ; nor is 
a direct and immediate giving glory to God, on account of the 
way and work of his wisdom and grace in Christ Jesus, but a 
consequence thereof; nor is that reception of Christ which is 
expressly required to our justification, and which alone is re- 
quired thereto ; yet is it, in the root, principle, and promptitude 
of mind for its exercise, in every one that is justified, then 
when he is justified. And it is peculiarly proposed with re- 
spect to the forgiveness of sin, as that without which it is im- 
possible we should have any true sense or comfort of it in our 
souls ; but it is not so as any part of that righteousness on the 
consideration whereof our sins are pardoned, nor as that 
whereby we have an interest therein. These things are plain 
in the divine method of our justification, and the order of our 
duty prescribed in the gospel ; as also in the experience of 
them that believe. Wherefore considering the necessity of 
legal repentance to believing, with the sanctification of the 
atfections Exercised therein by faith, whereby they are made 
evangelical, and the nature of faith as including in it a princi- 
ple of universal conversion to God, and especially of that re- 
pentance, which has for its principal motive the lov^e of God, 
and of Jesus Christ, with the grace from thence connnunicated, 
all which are supposed in the doctrine pleaded for, the neces- 
sity of true repentance is immovably fixed on its proper foun- 

3. As to what was said in the objection concerning Christ's 
suffering in the person of the elect, I know not whether any 
have used it or not, nor will I contend about it. He sutfered 
in their stead ; which all sorts of writers ancient and modern 


SO express, " in his suffering he bare the person of the church." 
The meaning is what was before declared. Christ and be- 
hevers are one mystical person, one spiritually animated body, 
head and members. This I suppose will not he denied ; to do 
so is to overthrow the church and the faith of it. Hence what 
he did and suffered is imputed to them. And it .is granted that 
as the surety of the covenant he paid all our debts, or answer- 
ed for all our fauks ; and that his righteousness is really com- 
municated to us. Why then, say some, there is no need of re- 
pentance, all is done for us already. But why so ? why must 
we assent to one part of the gospel to the exclusion of another ? 
Was it not free to God to appoint what way, method and order 
he would, whereby these things should be communicated to 
us ? nay upon the supposition of the design of his wisdom and 
grace^ these two things were necessary ; 

1. That this righteousness of Christ should be communicated 
to us, and be made ours in such a way and manner, as that he 
himself might be glorified therein, seeing he has disposed all 
things in this whole economy, " to the praise of the glory of 
his grace," Eph. i. 6. This was to be done by faith on our 
part. It is so, it could be no otherwise. For that faith where- 
by we are justified, is our giving to God the glory of his wis- 
dom, grace and love. And whatever does so, is faith, and no- 
thing else is so. 

2. That whereas our nature was so corrupted and depraved, 
as that continuing in that state, it was not capable of a partici- 
pation of the righteousness of Christ, or any benefit of it, to 
the glory of God, and our own good, it was in like manner 
necessary that it should be renewed and changed. And unless 
it were so, the design of God in the mediation of Christ, which 
was the entire recovery of us to himself could not be attained. 
And therefore as faith, under the formal consideration of it, 
was necessary to the first end, namely, that of giving glory to 
God, so to this latter end, it was necessary that this faith should 
be accompanied with, yea and contain in itself the seeds of all 
those other graces wherein the Divine nature consists, whereof 
we are to be made partakers. Not only therefore the thing 
itself, or the communication of the righteousness of Christ to 
us, but the way and manner, and means of it, depend on God's 
sovereign order and disposal. Wherefore although Christ made 
satisfaction to the justice of God, for all the sins of the church, 
and that as a common person, (for no man in his wits can deny 
I at that he who is a mediator and a surety, is in some sense a 



common person) and although he paid all our debts, yet does 
the particular interest of this or that man, in wliat he did and 
snftered, depend on tiie way, means, and order designed of 
God to that end. This and this alone gives the true necessity 
of all the duties which are required of us, with their order and 
their ends. 

3dly, It is objected, " That the imputation of the righteous- 
ness of Christ, which we defend, overthrows the necessity of 
faith itself." This is home indeed. Aliquid adha'vehit, is the 
design of all these objections. But they have reason to plead 
for themselves who make it. " For on this supposition," they 
say, " the righteousness of Christ is ours before wi3 believe. 
For Christ satisfied for all our sins, as if we had satisfied in our 
own persons. And he who is esteemed to have satisfied for 
all his sins in his own person, is acquitted from them all, and 
accounted just, whether he believe or not; nor is there any- 
ground or reason why he should be required to believe. If 
therefore the righteousness of Christ be really ours, because in 
the judgment of God we are esteemed to have wrought it in 
him, then it is ours before we believe. If it be otherwise, then 
it is plain that that righteousness itself can never be made ours 
by believing ; only the fruits and effects of it may be suspended 
on our believing, whereby we may be made partakers of them. 
Yea if Christ made any such satisfaction for us as is pretended, it 
is really ours, without any further imputation. For being per- 
formed for us and in our stead it is the highest injustice not to 
have us accounted pardoned and acquitted, without any further 
imputation on the part of God, or faith on ours." These things 
I have transcribed out of Socinus, which I would not have 
done, but that I find others to have gone before me therein, 
though to another purpose. And he concludes with a confi- 
dence which others also seem in some measure to have learned 
of him. For he says to his adversary, Hcec tua, tuorumque sen- 
tentia, adeo fmda et execrabilis est, ut pestilentiorem errorem 
post homines natos in papula Dei extitisse nan credam ; speak- 
ing of the satisfaction of Christ and the imputation of it to be- 
lievers. And indeed his serpentine wit was fertile in the in- 
vention of cavils against all the mysteries of the gospel. Nor 
was he obliged by any one of them, so as to contradict himself 
in what he opposed concerning any other of them. For deny- 
ing the deity of Christ, his satisfaction, sacrifice, merit, rights 
eousness, and overthrowing the whole nature of his mediation, 
nothing stood in his v/ay which he had a mind to oppose. But 


I somewhat wonder how others can make use of his inventions 
in this kind, who, if they considered aright their proper ten- 
dency, would find them to be absohitely destructive of wiiat 
they seem to own. So it is in this present objection against 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ ; if it has any 
force in it, as indeed it has not, it is to prove that the satisfac- 
tion of Christ was impossible ; and so he intended it. But it 
will be easily removed. 

I answer first in general ; that the whole fallacy of this objec- 
tion lies in the opposing one part of the design and method of 
God's grace in this mystery of our justification, to another ; or 
the taking of one part of it to be the whole, which as to its 
efficacy and perfection depends on something else. Hereof we 
warned the reader in our previous discourses. For the whole 
of it is a supposition, that the satisfaction of Christ, if there be 
any such thing, must have its whole effect, without believing 
on our part, which is contrary to the whole declaration of the 
will of God in the gospel. But I shall principally respect them 
who are pleased to make use of this objection, and yet do not 
deny the satisfaction of Christ. And I say 

1. When the Lord Christ died for us, and offered himself as 
a propitiatory sacrifice, God laid all our sins on him, Isa. liii. 6. 
And he then bare them all in his own body on the tree, 1 Pet. 
ii. 24. Then he suffered in our stead, and made full satisfac- 
tion for all our sins ; for he appeared to put away sin by the 
sacrifice of himself, Heb. ix. 26 ; and by one offering he hath 
perfected for ever them that are sanctified, Heb. x. 14. He 
whose sins were not actually and absolutely satisfied for, iii 
that one offering of Christ, shall never have them expiated 
to eternity. For henceforth he dieth no more, there is no more 
sacrifice for sin. The repetition of a sacrifice for sin, which 
must be the crucifying of Christ afresh, overthrows the foimda- 
tion of the Christian religion. 

2. Notwithstanding this full, plenary satisfaction once made 
for the sins of the world that shall be saved ; yet all men con- 
tinue equally to be born by nature children of wrath, and whilst 
they believe not, the wrath of God abideth on them, John iii. 
36 ; that is, they are obnoxious to, and under the curse of the 
law. Wherefore on the only making of that satisfaction, no 
one for whom it was made in the design of God, can be said 
to have suffered in Christ, nor to have an interest in his satis- 
faction, nor by any way or means be made partaker of it ante- 
cedently to another act of God in its imputation to him. For 


this is but one part of the purpose of God's grace, as to our 
justification by the blood of Christ, namely, that he by his 
death should make satisfaction for our sins. Nor is it to be 
separated from what also belongs to it, in the same purpose 
of God. Wherefore from the position or grant of the satisfac- 
tion of Christ, no argument can be taken to the negation of a 
consequential act of its imputation to us ; nor therefore of the 
necessity of our faith in the believing and receiving of it, which 
is no less the appointment of God, than it was that Christ 
should make that satisfaction. Wherefore 

3. That which the Lord Christ paid for us, is as truly paid, 
as if we had paid it ourselves. So he speaks, Psalm Ixix. 5. 
" I restored that which I took not away." He made no spoil 
of the glory of God ; what was done of that nature by us, he 
returned it to him. And what he underwent and suffered, he 
underwent and suffered in our stead. But yet the act of God in 
laying our sins on Christ, conveyed no actual right and title to us, 
to what he did and suffered. They are not immediately there- 
on, nor by virtue thereof, ours, or esteemed ours, because God 
has appointed somewhat else, not only antecedent thereto, but 
as the means of it, to his own glory. These things both as to 
their being and order, depend on the free ordination of God. 
But yet, 

4. It cannot be said that this satisfaction was made for us on 
such a condition as should absolutely suspend the event, and 
render it uncertain whether it should ever be for us or not. 
Such a constitution may be righteous in pecuniary matters. 
A man may lay down a great sum of money for the discharge 
of another, on such a condition as may never be fulfilled. For 
on the absolute failure of the condition, his money may and 
ought to be restored to him, whereon he has received no injury 
or damage. But in penal suffering for crimes and sins, there 
can be no righteous constitution that shall make the event and 
efficacy of it depend on a condition absolutely uncertain, and 
which may not come to pass or be fulfilled. For if the condi- 
tion fail, no recompense can be made to him who has suffered. 
Wherefore the way of the application of the satisfaction of 
Christ to them for whom it v/as made, is sure and steadfast in 
the purpose of God. 

5. God has appointed that there shall be an immediate foun- 
dation of the imputation of the satisfaction and righteousness 
of Christ to us, whereon we may be said to have done and 
suffered in him, what he did and suffered in our stead, by that 


grant, donation, and imputation of it to us ; or that we may be 
interested in it, that it may be made* ours, which is all we con- 
tend for. And this is our actual coalescence into one mystical 
person with him by faitji. Hereon the necessity of faith origi- 
nally depends. And if we shall add hereto the necessity of it 
likewise to that especial glory of God which he designs to exalt 
in our justificatiou by Christ, as also to all the ends of our obe- 
dience to God, and the renovation of our natures into his 
image, its station is sufficiently secured against all objections. 
Our actual interest in the satisfaction of Christ, depends on our 
actual insertion into his mystical body by faith, according to 
the appointment of God. 

4thly. It is yet objected, that if the righteousness of Christ be 
made ours, we may be said to be saviours of the world as he 
was, or to save others as he did. For he was so and did so by 
his righteousness and no otherwise. This objection also is of 
the same nature with those foregoing, a mere sophistical cavil. 

1. The righteousness of Christ is not transfused into us, so 
as to be made inherently and subjectively ours, as it was in 
him, and which is necessarily required to that effect of saving 
others thereby. Whatever we may do, or be said to do with 
respect to others, by virtue of any power or quality inherent 
in ourselves, we can be said to do nothing to others, or for 
them, by virtue of that which is imputed to us, only for our 
own benefit. That any righteousness of ours should benefit 
another, it is absolutely necessary that it should be wrought by 

2. If the righteousness of Christ could be transfused into 
us, and be made inherently ours, yet could we not be, nor be 
said to be the saviours of others thereby. For our nature in 
our individual persons, is not subjectum copax, or capable to 
receive and retain a righteousness useful and effectual to that 
end. This capacity was given to it in Christ by virtue of the 
hypostatical union, and not otherwise. The righteousness of 
Christ himself as performed in the human nature, would not 
have been sufficient for the justification and salvation of the 
church, had it not been the righteousness of his person, who is 
both God and man ; for " God redeemed his church with his 
own blood." 

3. This imputation of the righteousness of Christ to us, as 
to its ends and use, has its measure from the will of God, and 
his purpose in that imputation. And this is, that it should be 



the righteousness of them to whom it is imputed, and nothing 

4. We do not say that the righteousness of Christ as made 
absolutely for the whole church, is imputed to every believer. 
But his satisfaction for every one of them in particular, accord- 
ing to the will of God, is imputed to them; not with respect to 
its general ends, but according to every one's particular inter- 
est. Every believer has his own homer of this bread of life ; 
and all are justified by the same righteousness. 

5. The Apostle declares, as we shall prove afterwards, that 
as Adam's actual sin is imputed to us to condemnation, so is 
the obedience of Christ imputed to us, to the justification of life. 
But Adam's sin is not so imputed to any person, as that he 
should then and thereby be the cause of sin and condemnation 
to all other persons in the world; but only that he himself 
should become guilty before God thereon. And so is it on tlie 
other side. And as we are made guilty by Adam's actual sin 
which is not inherent in us, but only imputed to us; so are we 
made righteous by the righteousness of Christ whicli is not in- 
herent in us, but only imputed to us. And imputed to us it is, 
because himself was righteous with it, uot for himself but 
for us. 

It is yet said, that " if we insist on personal imputation to every 
believer of what Christ did, or if any believer be personally 
righteous in the very individual acts of Christ's righteousness, 
many absurdities will follow." But it was observed before, 
that when any design to oppose an opinion from the absurdi- 
ties which they suppose would follow upon it, they are much 
inclined so to state it, that at least they may seem so to do. 
And this ofttimes the most worthy and candid persons are not 
free from in the heat of disputation. So I fear it is here fallen 
out. For as to " personal imputation" I do not well understand 
it. All imputation is to a person, and is the act of a person, be 
it of what, and what sort it will, but from neither of them can 
be denominated a personal imputation. And if an imputation 
be allowed that is not to the persons of men, namely, in this 
ease to all believers, the nature of it has not yet been declared, 
as I know of. 

That any have so expressed the imputation pleaded for, that 
every believer should be personally righteous in the very indi- 
vidual acts of Christ's righteousness, I know not ; I have neither 
read nor heard any of them who have so expressed their mind. 
It may be some have done so ; but I shall not undertake the de- 


fence of what they have done. For it seems not only to sup- 
pose that Christ did every individual act which in any instance 
is required of us, but also that those acts are made our owai in- 
herently ; both which are false and impossible. That which 
indeed is pleaded for in this imputation, is only this : that what 
the Lord Christ did and suffered as the mediator and surety of 
the covenant in answer to the law, for them and in their stead, 
is imputed to every one of them to the justification of life. 
And sufficient this is to that end without any such supposais. 
(1) From the dignity of the person who yielded his obedience, 
which rendered it both satisfactory and meritorious, and impu- 
table to many. (2) From the nature of the obedience itself, 
which was a perfect compliance with, a fulfilling of, and satis- 
faction to, the whole law in all its demands. This on the sup- 
position of that act of God's sovereign authority, whereby a 
representative of the whole church was introduced to answer 
the law, is the ground of his righteousness being made theirs, 
and being every way sufiicient to their justification. (3) From 
the constitution of God, that what was done and suffered by 
Christ as a public person and our surety, should be reckoned to 
us as if done by ourselves. So the sin of Adam whilst he was 
a public person, and represented his whole posterity, is im- 
puted to us all as if we had committed that actual sin. This 
Bellarmine himself frequently acknowledges.* "We sinned in 
the first man, when he sinned, and that transgression of his was 
also our transgression. For we could not be truly made sinners 
through the disobedience of Adam, unless his disobedience was 
also ours." And elsewhere, " that the actual sin of Adam is 
imputed to us, as if we all had committed that actual sin; that 
is, broken the whole law of God." And this is that whereby 
the Apostle illustrates the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ to believers ; and it may on as good grounds be charged 
with absurdities as the other. It is not therefore said that 
God judges that we have in our own persons done those very 
acts, and endured that penalty of the law which the Lord Christ 
did and endured. For this would overthrow all imputation. 
But what Christ did and suffered, that God imputes to believers 
to the justification of life, as if it had been done by themselves; 
and his righteousness as a public person is made theirs by im- 

* Peccavimus in primo homine quando ille peccavit, et ilia ejus prffivari- 
catio nostra etiam prtfivaricatio fuit. Non enim vere per Adami inobcdien- 
tiain constilueremur peccatores, nisi inobedientia illius nostra etiam inobe- 
dientia esset. De Amiss. Grat. et Stat. Peccat. lib. 5. cap. 18. 


putation, even as the sin of Adam whilst a public person, is 
made the sin of all his posterity by imputation. 

Hereon none of the absurdities pretended, which are really 
such, do at all follow. It does not follow, that Christ in his 
own person performed every individual act that we in our cir- 
cumstances are obliged to in a way of duty : nor was there any 
need that so he should do. This imputation, as I have showed, 
stands on other foundations. Nor does it follow, that every 
saved person's righteousness before God is the same identically 
and numerically with Christ's in his public capacity as mediator; 
for this objection destroys itself, by affirming that as it was his, 
it was the righteousness of God-man; and so it has an especial 
nature as it respects or relates to his person. It is the same that 
Christ in his public capacity wrought or effected. But there is a 
wide ditference in the consideration of it, as his absolutely and as 
made ours. It was formally inherent in him, is only materially 
imputed to us ; was actively his, is passively ours; was wrought 
in the person of God-man, for the whole church ; is imputed 
to each single believer, as to his own concernment only. Adam's 
sin as imputed to us, is not the sin of a representative, though 
it be of him that was so ; but is the particular sin of every one 
of us. But this objection must be further spoken to where it 
occurs afterwards. Nor will it follow, that on this supposition 
we should be accounted to have done, that which was done 
long before we were in a capacity of doing any thing. For 
what is done for us and in our stead, before we are in any such 
capacity, may be imputed to us, as is the sin of Adam, And 
yet there is a manifold sense wherein men may be said to have 
done what was done for them, and in their name before their 
actual existence ; so that therein is no absurdity. As to what 
is added by the way, that Christ did not do nor suffer the idem, 
the identical thing, that we were obliged to ; whereas he did 
what the law required, and suffered what the law threatened 
to the disobedient, which is the whole of what we are obliged 
to, it will not be so easily proved ; nor the arguments very 
suddenly answered whereby the contrary has been confirmed. 
That Christ did sustain the place of a surety, or was the surety 
of the new covenant, the Scripture so expressly affirms, that it 
cannot be denied. And that there may be sureties in cases 
criminal, as well as civil and pecuniary, has been proved be- 
fore. What else occurs about the singularity of Christ's obe- 
dience as he was mediator, proves only that his righteousness 
as formally and inherently his, was peculiar to himself, and 


that tlie adjuncts of it which arise from its relation to his per- 
son, as it was inherent in him, are not communicable to them 
to whom it is imputed. 

It is moreover urged " That upon the supposed imputation 
of the righteousness of Christ, it will follow that every believer 
is justified by the works of the law. For the obedience of 
Christ was a legal righteousness, and if that be imputed to us, 
then are we justified by the law, which is contrary to express 
testimonies of Scripture in many places." Ans. (1) I know 
nothing more frequent in the writings of some learned men, 
than that the righteousness of Christ is our legal righteousness; 
who yet I presume are able to free themselves of this objec- 
tion. (2) If this follow in the true sense of being justified by 
the law, or the works of it, so denied in the Scripture, their 
weakness is much to be pitied who can see no other way 
whereby Ave may be freed from an obligation to be justified 
by the law, but by this imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ. (3) The Scripture which affirms that " by the deeds 
of the law no man can be justified," affirms in like manner, 
that " by faith we do not make void the law, but establish it ;" 
that " the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us ;" that 
Christ " came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it, and is the 
end of the law for righteousness unto them that believe." 
And that the law must be fulfilled or we cannot be justified, 
we shall prove afterwards. (4) We are not hereon justified 
by the law or the works of it, in the only sense of that propo- 
sition in the Scripture, and to coin new senses or significations 
of it, is not safe. The meaning of it in the Scripture is, that 
only " the doers of the law shall be justified," Rom. ii. 1 3; and 
that " he that doth the things of it shall live by them," chap. 
X. 5 ; namely, in his own person, by the way of personal duty 
which alone the law requires. But if we who have not ful- 
filled the law in the way of inherent personal obedience, are 
justified by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to us, 
then are we justified by Christ and not by the law. But it is 
said, that " this will not relieve, for if his obedience be so im- 
puted to us, that we are accounted by God in judgment to have 
done what Christ did, we are as much justified by the law as 
if we had in our own proper persons performed an unsinning 
obedience to it." This I confess I cannot understand. The 
nature of this imputation is here represented as formely, in 
such a way as we cannot acknowledge ; from thence alone this 
mference is made, which yet in my judgment does not follow 


thereon. For grant an imputation of the righteousness of an- 
other to us, be it of what nature it will, all justification by the 
law and works of it in the sense of the Scripture is gone for 
ever. The admission of imputation takes off all power from 
the law to justify ; for it can justify none, but upon a right- 
eousness that is originally and inherently his own. " The man 
that doth them shall live in them." If the righteousness that 
is imputed be the ground and foundation of our justification, 
and made ours by that imputation, state it how you will, that 
justification is of grace and not of the law. However I know 
not of any that say we are accounted of God in judgment per- 
sonally to have done what Christ did ; and it may have a sense 
that is false; namely, that God should judge us in our own 
persons to have done those acts which we never did. But 
what Christ did for us and in our stead, is imputed and com- 
municated to us, as we coalesce into one mystical person with 
him by faith, and thereon are we justified. And this abso- 
lutely overthrows all justification by the law or the works of 
it ; though the law be established, fulfilled and accomplished, 
that we may be justified. 

Neither can any on the supposition of the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ truly stated, be said to merit their own 
salvation. Satisfaction and merit are adjuncts of the right- 
eousness of Christ as formally inherent in his own person ; 
and as such it cannot be transfused into another. Wherefore 
as it is imputed to individual believers, it has not these pro- 
perties accompfanying it which belong only to its existence in 
the person of the Son of God. But this was spoken to before, 
as much also of what was necessary to be here repeated. 

These objections I have in this place taken notice of, be- 
cause the answers given to them tend to the further explana- 
tion of that truth, whose confirmation by arguments and tes- 
timonies of Scripture I shall now proceed to. 

. t 




There is a justification of convinced sinners on their believ- 
ing. Hereon are tiieir sins pardoned, their persons accepted 
with God, and a right is given to them, to the heavenly in- 
heritance. This state they are immediately taken into upon 
their faith, or believing in Jesus Christ. And a state it is of 
actual peace with God. These things at present I take for 
granted, and they are the foundation of all that I shall plead 
in the present argument. And I take notice of them because 
some seem, to the best of my understnnding, to deny any real 
actual justification of sinners on their believing in this life. 
For they make justification to be only a general conditional 
sentence declared in the gospel, which as to its execution, is 
delayed to the day of judgment. For whilst men are in this 
world, the whole condition of it being not fulfilled, they cannot 
be partakers of it, or be actually and absolutely justified. 
Hereon it follows, that indeed there is no real state of assured 
rest and peace with God by Jesus Christ, for any persons in 
this life. This at present I shall not dispute about, because it 
seems to me to overthrow the whole gospel, the grace of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and all the comfort of believers about which 
I hope we are not as yet called to contend. 

Our inquiry is, how convinced sinners do on their believing 
obtain the remission of sins, acceptance witli God, and a right 
to eternal life. And if this can no other way be done, but by 
the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to them, then 
thereby alone are they justified in the sight of God. And this 
assertion proceeds on a supposition that there is a righteous- 
ness required to the justification of any person whatever. For 
whereas God in the justification of any person, declares him to 
be acquitted from all crimes laid to his charge, and to stand as 
righteous in his sight, it must be on the consideration of a right- 
eousness, whereon any man is so acquitted and declared ; for 
the judgment of God is according to truth. This we have suf- 
ficiently evidenced before in that juridical procedure wherein 
the Scripture represents to us the justification of a believing 


sinner. And if there be no other righteousness whereby we 
may be thus justified, but only that of Christ imputed to us, 
then thereby must we be justified or not at all. And if there 
be any such other righteousness, it must be our own, inherent 
in us, and wrought out by us. For these two kinds inherent 
and imputed righteousness, our own and Christ's, divide the 
whole nature of righteousness, as to the end inquired after. 
And that there is no such inherent righteousness, no such right- 
eousness of our own whereby we may be justified before God, 
I shall prove in the first place. And I shall do it, first from 
express testimonies of Scripture, and then from the considera- 
tion of the thing itself And two things I shall premise hereto. 

1. That I shall not consider this righteousness of our own 
absolutely, in itself, but as it may be conceived to be improved 
and advanced by its relation to the satisfaction and merit of 
Christ ; for many will grant that our inherent righteousness is 
not of itself sufficient to justify us in the sight of God ; but take 
it as it has value and worth communicated to it from the merit 
of Christ, and so it is accepted to that end, and judged worthy 
of eternal life. We could not merit life and salvation, had not 
Christ merited that grace for us whereby we may do so ; and 
merited also that our works should be of such a dignity with 
respect to reward. We shall therefore allow what Avorth can 
be reasonably thought to be communicated to this righteous- 
ness from its respect to the merit of Christ. 

2. Whereas persons of all sorts and parties take various ways 
in the assigning of an interest in our justification to our own 
righteousness, so that no parties are agreed about it, nor many 
of the same mind among themselves, as might easily be mani- 
fested in the Papists, Socinians, and others, I shall so far as it 
is possible in the ensuing arguments have respect to them all. 
For my design is to prove, that it has no such interest in our 
justification before God, as that the righteousness of Christ 
should not be esteemed the only righteousness whereon we are 

And first, we shall produce some of those many testimonies 
which may be pleaded to this purpose, Psa. cxxx. 3, 4. " If 
thou Lord shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who should stand? 
But there is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared." 
There is an inquiry included in these words, how a man, how 
any man may be justified before God; how he may "stand," 
that is, in the presence of God, and be accepted with him; how 
he shall stand in judgment, as it is explained, Psa. i. 5. " The 


wicked shall not stand in the judgment/' sliall not be acquitted 
on their trial. That which first ofTers itself to this end, is his 
own obedience. P^'or this the law requires of him in tlie first 
place, and this his own conscience calls upon him for. But 
the Psalmist plainly declares that no man can thence manage 
a plea for his justification with any success. And the reason 
is, because notwithstanding the best of the obedience of the 
best of men, there are iniquities found with them against the 
Lord their God. And if men come to their trial before God 
whether they shall be justified or condemned, these also must 
be heard and taken into the account. But then no man can 
"stand," no man can "be justified," as it is elsewhere express- 
ed. Wherefore the wisest and safest course is, as to our justi- 
fication before God, utterly to forego this plea, and not to in- 
sist on our own obedience, lest our sins should appear also, and 
be heard. No reason can any man give on his own account, 
why they should not so be. And if they be so, the best of 
men will be cast in their trial, as the Psalmist declares. 

Two things are required in this trial that a sinner may stand. 
(1) That his iniquities be not observed, for if they be so, he is 
lost for ever. (2) That a righteousness be produced and plead- 
ed that will endure the trial. For justification is upon a justi- 
fying righteousness. For the first of these, the Psalmist tells 
us, it must be through pardon or forgiveness. " But there is for- 
giveness with thee," wherein lies our only relief against the con- 
demnatory sentence of the law with respect to our iniquities ; 
that is, through the blood of Christ ; for in him " we have re- 
demption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins," 
Ephes. i. 7. The other cannot be our own obedience, because 
of our iniquities. Wherefore this the same Psalmist directs us 
to. Psa. Ixxi. 16. "I will go in the strength of the Lord God; 
I will make mention of thy righteousness, of thine only." The 
righteousness of God, and not his own, yea in opposition to his 
own, is the only plea that in this case he would insist upon. 

If no man can stand a trial before God upon his own obe- 
dience, so as to be justified before him, because of his own per- 
sonal iniquities ; and if our only plea in that case be the right- 
eousness of God, the righteousness of God only and not our 
own, then is there no personal inherent righteousness in any 
believers whereon they may be justified ; which is that which 
is to be proved. 

The same is again asserted by the same person, and that more 
plainly and directly. Psa. cxliii. 2. "Enter not into judgment 



with thy servant, for in tliy sight shall no man living be justi- 
fied." This testimony is the more to be considered, because as 
it is derived from the law, Exod. xxxiv. 7, so it is transferred 
to the gospel, and twice urged by the Apostle to the same pur- 
pose. Rom. iii. 20; Gal. ii. 16. 

The person who insists on this plea with God, professes 
liimslef to be his servant. Enter not into judgment with thy 
servant ; that is, one that loved him, feared him, yielded all 
sincere obedience. He was not a hypocrite, not an unbe- 
liever, not an unregenerate person, who had performed no 
works but such as were legal, such as the law required, and 
such as were done in the strength of the law only ; such works 
as all will acknowledge to be excluded from our justification ; 
and which as many judge, are only those which are so ex- 
cluded. David it was, who was not only converted, a true 
believer, had the Spirit of God, and the aids of special grace 
in his obedience, but had this testimony to his sincerity, that 
he was " a man after God's own heart." And this witness had 
he in his own conscience of his integrity, uprightness, and per- 
sonal righteousness, so that he frequently avows them, appeals 
to God concerning the truth of them, aud pleads them as a 
ground of judgment between him and his adversaries. We 
have therefore a case stated in the instance of a sincere and 
eminent believer, who excelled most in inherent personal 

This person under these circumstances, thus testified to, 
both by God and in his own conscience, as to the sincerity, 
yea, as to the eminency of his obedience, considers how he 
may stand before God, and be justified in his sight. Why 
does he not now plead his own merits, and that, if not ex con 
digno, yet at least ex congruo, he deserved to be acquitted and 
justified ? But he left this plea for that generation of men that 
were to come after, who would "justify themselves," and des- 
pise others. But suppose he had no such confidence in the 
merit o^ his works as some have now attained to, yet why does 
he not freely enter into judgment with God, put it to the trial 
whether he should be justified or not, by pleading that he hacl. 
fulfilled the condition of the new covenant, that everlasting 
covenant which God made with him, ordered in all things and 
sure ? For upon a supposition of the procurement of that cove- 
nant and the terms of it, by Christ, (for I suppose the virtue of 
that purchase he made of it, is allowed to extend to the Old 
Testament) tiiis was all that was required of him. Is it not to 


be feared that he was one of them who see no necessity of per- 
sonal hohness and righteousness, seeing he makes no mention 
of it, how it should stand him in the greatest stead ? At least 
lie might plead his faith as his own duty and work to b(! im- 
puted to him for righteousness. But whatever the reason be, 
he waves them all, and absolutely deprecates a trial upon them. 
" Come not," says he, " Lord, into judgment with thy ser- 
vant," as it is promised that he who believes should not come 
iuto judgment. John v. 24. 

And if this holy person renounce the whole consideration of 
all his personal inherent righteousness, in every kind, and will 
not insist upon it under any pretence, in any place, as to any 
use in his justification before God, we may safely conclude 
there is no such righteousness in any whereby they may be 
justified. And if men would but leave those shades and coverts 
under which they hide themselves in their disputations, if they 
would forego those pretences and distinctions wherewith they 
delude themselves and others, and tell us plainly what plea 
they dare make in the presence of God, from their own right- 
eousness and obedience that they may be justified before him, 
we should better understand their minds than now we do. 
There is one, I confess, who speaks with some confidence to 
this purpose. And that is Vasquez the Jesuit.* " Inherent 
righteousness renders the soul so just and holy, and conse- 
quently a child of God, that in fact it renders it an heir worthy 
of eternal glory. Nay, God himself cannot cause that a right 
eous man of this kind should not be worthy of eternal bliss V 
Is it not sad that David should discover so much ignorance oi 
the worth of his inherent righteousness, and discover so much 
pusillanimity with respect to his trial before God, whereas God 
himself could not otherwise order it, but that he was and must 
be worthy of eternal blessedness? 

The reason the Psalmist gives why he will not put it to the 
trial whether he should be acquitted or justified upon his own 
obedience, is this general axiom, "for in thy sight," or before 
thee, "shall no man living be justified." This must be spoken 
absolutely, or with respect to some one way or cause of justifi- 
cation. If it be spoken absolutely, then this work ceases for 
ever, and there is indeed no such thing as justification before 

* Inhaerens justitia ita reddit animam justam et sanctam,ac proinde filiam 
Dei, ut hoc ipso reddat earn haredem. et dignam teterna gloria ; imo ipse 
Deus efficere non potest ut hujusrnodi Justus dignus non sit Eeterna beatitudine. 


God. But tliis is contrary to the whole Scripture, and destruc- 
tive of the gospel. Wherefore it is spoken with respect to our 
own obedience and works. He does not pray absohUely that 
he would not enter into judgment with him, for this were to 
forego his government of the world, but that he would not do 
so on the account of his own duties and obedience. But if so 
be these duties and that obedience answered in any sense or vvay, 
what is required of us as a righteousness to justification, there 
Was no reason why he should deprecate a trial by them or 
upon them. But whereas the Holy Gliost so positively alfirms, 
that no man living shall be justified in the sight of God, by or 
upon his own works or obedience, it is, I confess, marvellous 
to me, that some should so interpret the Apostle James, as if 
he affirmed the express contrary ; namely, that we are justi- 
fied in the sight of God by our own works, whereas indeed he 
says no such thing. This therefore is an eternal rule of truth, 
by, or upon his own obedience, no man living can be justified 
in the sight of God. It will be said " that if God enter into 
judgment with any on their own obedience by and according 
to the law, then indeed none can be justified before him. But 
God judging according to the gospel, and the terms of the new 
covenant, men may be justified upon their own duties, works, 
and obedience." Ans. (1) The negative assertion is general, 
and unlimited; that no man living shall (on his own works or 
obedience) be justified in the sight of God. And to limit it to 
this or that way of judging, is not to distinguish but to contra- 
dict the Holy Ghost. (2) The judgment intended is only with 
respect to justification, as is plain in the words. But there is 
no judgment on our works or obedience, with respect to right- 
eousness and justification, but by the proper rule and measure 
of them, which is the law. If they will not endure the trial 
by the ]a.\t, they will endure no trial as to righteousness and 
justification in the sight of God. (3) The prayer and plea of 
the Psalmist on this supposition, are to this purpose: '-OLord, 
enter not into judgment with thy servant, by or according to 
the law ; but enter into judgment AVith me, on my own works 
and obedience according to the rule of the gospel ;" for which 
he gives this reason, " because in thy sight shall no man living 
be justified ;" how remote this from his intention need not be de- 
clared. (4) The judgment of God to justification according to 
the gospel, does not proceed on our works of obedience, but 
upon the righteousness of Christ, and our interest ther<ein by 


faith, as is too evident to be modestly denied. Notwithstanding 
this exception, therefore, hence we argue ; — 

If the most holy of the serv^ants of God, in and after a course 
of sincere fruitful obedience, testified to by God himself, and 
witnessed in their own consciences, that is, whilst they have 
the greatest evidences of their own sincerity, and tiiat indeed 
they are the servants of God, do renounce all thoughts of such 
a righteousness thereby, as whereon in any sense they may be 
justified before God ; then there is no such righteousness in 
any, but it is the righteousness of Christ alone imputed to us 
whereon we are so justified. But that so they do, and ought 
all of them so to do, because of the general rule here laid 
down, that in the sight of God no man living shall be justified, 
is plainly affirmed in this testimony. 

I no way doubt but that many learned men, after all their 
pleas for an interest of personal righteousness and works in our 
justification before God, do as to their own practice betake 
themselves to this metliod of the Psalmist, and cry as the prophet 
Daniel does in the name of the Church ; " we do not present 
our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for 
thy great mercies," Dan. ix. 18. And therefore Job (as we 
have formerly observed) after a long and earnest defence of 
his own faith, integrity, and personal righteousness, wherein 
he justified himself against the charge of Satan and men, being 
called to plead his cause in the sight of God, and declare on 
what grounds he expected to be justified before him, renounces 
all his former pleas, and betakes himself to the same with the 
Psalmist, Job xl. 4 ; xlii. 6. 

It is true in particular cases, and as to some especial end in 
the providence of God, a man may plead his own integrity and 
obedience before God himself. So did Hezekiah when he 
prayed for the sparing of his life, Isa. xxxviii. 3. " Remember 
now, Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee 
in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which 
is good in thy sight." This I say may be done with respect to 
temporal deliverance, or any other particular end wherein the 
glory of God is concerned. So was it greatly in sparing tlie 
life of Hezekiah at that time. For whereas he had with great 
zeal and industry reformed religion, and restored the true wor- 
ship of God, the cutting him off in the midst of his days, would 
have occasioned the idolatrous multitude to have reflected on 
him as one dying under a token of divine displeasure. But 
none ever made this plea before God, for the absolute justifica- 

22 * 


tion of their persons. So Nehemiah in that great contest which 
he had about the worship of God, and the service of his house, 
pleads the remembrance of it before God, hi his justification 
against his adversaries, but resolves his own personal accept- 
ance with God into pardoning mercy ; " and spare me accord- 
ing to the multitude of thy mercies," Neh. xiii. 22. 

Another testimony we have to the same purpose, in the pro- 
phet Isaiah, speaking in the name of the Church, Isa. Ixiv. 6. 
" We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses 
are as filthy rags." It is true the prophet in this place makes 
a deep confession of the sins of the people. But yet withal he 
joins himself with them, and asserts the especial interest of 
those concerning whom he speaks by adoption ; that God was 
their Father, and they his people, Isa. Ixiii. 16 ; Ixiv. 8, 9. And 
the righteousnesses of all that are the children of God are of 
the same kind ; however they may differ in degrees, and some 
of them may be more righteous than others. But it is all of it 
described to be such, that we cannot, I think, justly expect jus- 
tification in the sight of God, upon the account of it. But 
whereas the consideration of the nature of our inherent right- 
eousness belongs to the second way of the confirmation of our 
present argument, I shall not further here insist on this testi- 

Many others also to the same purpose, I shall wholly omit ; 
namely, all those wherein the saints of God or the Church, in 
an humble acknowledgment and confession of their own sins, 
betake themselves to the mercy and grace of God alone, as dis- 
pensed through the mediation and blood of Christ; and all those 
wherein God promises to pardon and blot out our iniquities 
for his own sake, for his name's sake ; to bless the people not 
for any good that was in them, nor for their righteousness, nor 
for their works, the consideration whereof he excludes from 
having any influence on any actings of his grace towards 
them ; and all those wherein God expresses his delight in 
them alone, and his approbation of them who hope in his 
mercy, trust in his name, betaking themselves to him as their 
only refuge, pronouncing them accursed who trust in any 
thing else, or glory in themselves ; such as contain singular 
promises to them that betake themselves to God, as fatherless, 
hopeless, and lost in themselves. 

The testimonies which are multiplied to this purpose, suffi- 
ciently prove, that the best of God's saints have not a righteous- 
less of their own, wliereon they can in any sense be justified 


before God. For they all, in the places referred to, renounce 
any such righteousness of their own, all that is in them, all that 
they have done or can do, and betake themselves to grace and 
mercy alone. And whereas, as we have before proved, God 
in the justification of any, exercises grace towards them with 
respect to a righteousness, whereon he declares them righteous 
and accepted before him, they all respect a righteousness which 
is not inherent in us but imputed to us. 

Herein lies the substance of all that we inquire into, in this 
matter of justification. All other disputes about any kind of 
interest for our own works and obedience in our justification 
before God, are but the speculations of men at ease. The con- 
science of a convinced sinner, who presents himself in the pre- 
sence of God, finds all practically reduced to this one point, 
namely, whether he will trust to his own personal inherent 
righteousness, or in a full renunciation of it, betake himself to 
the grace of God, and the righteousness of Christ alone. In 
other things he is not concerned. And let a man phrase his 
own righteousness as he pleases, let him pretend it merito- 
rious, or only evangelical, not legal, only an accomplishment 
of the condition of the new covenant, a cause without which 
he cannot be justified, it will not be easy to frame his mind to 
any confidence in it, as to justification before God; so as not 
to deceive him in the issue. 

The second part of the present argument is taken from, the 
nature of the thing itself, or the consideration of this personal 
inherent righteousness of our own, what it is and wherein it 
consists, and of what use it may be in our justification. And 
to this purpose it may be observed, 

1. That we grant an inherent righteousness in all that be- 
lieve, as has been before declared. " For the fruit of the Spirit 
is in all goodness and righteousness and truth," Ephes. v. 9. 
'• Being made free from sin, we become the servants of right- 
eousness," Rom. vi. IS. And our duty it is to "follow after 
righteousness, godliness, faith, love, meekness," 1 Tim. ii. 22. 
And although righteousness be mostly taken for an especial 
grace or duty, distinct from other graces and duties, yet we 
acknowledge that it may be taken for the whole of our obedi- 
ence before God ; and the word is so used in the Scripture, 
where our own righteousness is opposed to the righteousness 
of God. And it is either habitual or actual. There is an ha- 
bitual righteousness inherent in believers, as they have '•' put 
on the new man which after God is created in rigliteousiiess 


and true holiness," Ephes. iv. 24 ; as they are the " workman- 
ship of God created in Jesus Christ unto good works," ii. S. 
And there is an actual righteousness consisting in those good 
worlds whereto we are so created, or the fruits of righteous- 
ness, which are to the praise of God by Jesus Clnnst. And 
concerning this righteotisness it may be observed ; (1) that 
men are said in the Scripture, to be just or righteous by it, but 
no one is said to be justified by it before God ; (2) that it is not 
ascribed to, or found in any, but those that are actually jus- 
tified in order of nature antecedent thereto. 

This being the constant doctrine of all the Reformed churches 
and divines, it is an open calumny whereby the contrary is as- 
cribed to them, or any of those who believe the imputation of 
the righteousness of Christ for our justification before God. So 
Bellarmine affirms that no Protestant writers acknowledge an 
inherent righteousness, but only Bucer and Chemnitius, when 
there is no one of them, by whom either the thing itself, or the 
necessity of it, is denied. But some excuse may be made for 
him, from the manner whereby they expressed themselves, 
wherein they always carefully distinguished between inherent 
holiness, and that righteousness whereby we are justified. But 
we are now told by one, that if we should affirm it an hundred 
times he could scarce believe us. This is somewhat severe ; 
for although he speaks bitt to one, yet the charge falls equally 
upon all who maintain that imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ, which he denies ; who being at least the generality of 
all Protestant divines, they are represented either as so foolish, 
as not to know what they say, or so dishonest as to say one 
thing and believe another. But he endeavours to justity his 
censure by sundry reasons ; and first he says, " that inherent 
righteousness can on no other account be said to be ours, than 
that by it we are made righteous ; that is, that it is the condi- 
tion of our justificaiton required in the new covenant. This 
being denied, all inherent righteousness is denied." But how 
is this proved ? What if one should say, that every believer is 
inherently righteous, but yet that this inherent righteousness 
Avas not the condition of his justification, but rather the conse- 
quence of it, and that it is no where required in the new cove- 
nant as the condition of our justification, how shall the con- 
trary be made to appear ? The Scripture plainly affirms that 
there is such an inherent righteousness in all that believe ; and 
yet as plainly that we are justified before God, by faith with- 
out works. Wherefore that it is the condition of our justfiica- 


tiou and SO antecedent to it, is expressly contrary to that, of the 
Apostle ; "to him that worketh not, hut bcheveth on him that 
jnstifieth tiie ungodly, his faith is counted lor rigiiteousness." 
Kom. iv. 5. Nor is it the condition of the covenant itself, as 
that whereon the whole grace of the covenant is suspended. 
For as it is l)abitnal, wherein the denomination of righteous is 
principally taken, it is a grace of the covenant itself, and so not 
a condition of it,.Ierem. xxxi. 33; xxxii. 39; Ezek. xxxvi. 25 — 
27. If no more be intended, but that it is as to its actual ex- 
ercise what is iudisjiensably required of all that are taken into 
covenant, in order to the complete ends of it, we are agreed. 
]iut hence it will not follow that it is the condition of our jus- 
tification. It is added, " that all righteousness respects a law 
and a rule, by which it is to be tried. And he is rigliteous, 
who has done these things which that law requires, by whose 
rule he is to be judged." But (1) this is not the way whereby 
the Scripture exi»resses our justification before God, which 
alone is under consideration ; namely, that we bring to it a 
personal righteousness of om* own, answering the law where- 
by we are to be judged. Yea an assertion to this purpose is 
foreign to the gospel, and destructive of the grace of God by 
.lesus Christ. (2) It is granted, that all righteousness respects 
a law as the rule of it; and so does this whereof we speak, 
namely, the moral law, which being the sole eternal unchange- 
able rule of righteousness, if it do not in the substance of it 
answer thereto, a righteousness it is not. But this it does in as 
much, as that so far as it is habitual, it consists in the renova- 
tion of tiie image of God, wherein that law is written in our 
liearts ; and all the actual duties of it are as to the substance of 
them, what is required by that law. But as to the manner of 
its connnunication to us, and of its performance by us Irom 
faith in God by Jesus Christ, and love to him, as the author 
and fountain of all grace and mercy procured and adminis- 
tered by him, it has respect to the gospel. What will follow 
from hence ? why, that he is just who does those things which 
that law requires whereby he is to be judged. He is so cer- 
tainly. For " not the hearers of the law are just before God, 
but the doers of the law shall be justified," Rom. ii. 13, " So 
JMoses describeth the righteousness of the law, that the man 
that doth those things shall live in them," Rom, x. 5. But 
although the righteousness whereof we discourse, be required 
by the law, as certainly it is, for it is nothing but the law in 
our hearts, from whence we walk in the ways and keep the 


Statutes or commaiidmeiits of God ; yet does it not so aiiswei 
the law, as that any man can bo 'jiistiiied by it. But then it 
will be said, that if it does not answer that law and rule where- 
by we are to be judged, tlien it is no righteousness ; for all 
righteousness must answer the law whereby it is required. 
And I say it is most true, it is no perfect righteousness; it docs 
not so answer the rule and law, so that we can be justified by 
it, or safely judged on it. But so far as it does answer the 
law, it is a righteousness, that is, imperfectly so, and therelore 
is an imperfect righteousness; which yet gives the denomina- 
tion of righteous to them that have it, both absolutely and 
comparatively. It is said therefore, " that it is the law of grace 
or the gospel from whence we are denominated righteous with 
this righteousness." But that we are by the gospel denomi- 
nated righteous from any righteousness that is not required by 
the moral law, will not be proved. Nor does the law of grace 
or the gospel any where require of us, or prescribe to us this 
righteousness, as that whereon we are to be justified belbre 
God. It requires faith in Christ Jesus, or the receiving of him 
as he is proposed in the promises of it, in all that are to be 
justified. It requires in like manner repentance from dead 
Avorks in all that believe ; as also the fruits of faith, conversion 
to God and repentance, in the works of righteousness, which 
are to the praise of God by Jesus Christ ; with perseverance 
therein to the end. And all this may, if you please, be called 
our evangelical righteousness, as being our obedience to God 
according to the gospel. But yet the graces and duties wherein 
it consists, do no more perfectly answer the commands of the 
gospel, than they do those of the moral law. For that the 
gospel abates from the holiness of the law, and makes that to 
be no sin which is sin by the law, or a})proves absolutely of 
less intention or lower degrees in the love of God, than the law 
does, is an impious imagination. 

And that the gospel requires all these things entirely and 
equally, as the condition of our justification before God, and so 
antecedently thereto, is not yet proved, nor ever will be. It is 
hence concluded, "that this is our righteousness, according to 
the evangehcal law which requires it : by this we are made 
righteous, that is, not guilty of the non-performance of the con- 
dition required in that law." And these things are said to be 
" very plain." So no doubt they seemed to the auther ; to us 
they are intricate and perplexed. However, I wholly deny 
that our faith, obedience, and righteousness, considered as ours, 


as wrought by us, although they are all accepted with God 
through Jesus Christ according to the grace declared iu the gos- 
pel, do perfectly answer the commands of the gospel, requiring 
them of us, as to matter, manner, and degree ; and therefore it 
is utterly impossible that they should be the cause or condition 
of our justification before God. Yet in the explanation of these 
things, it is added by the same author, " that our maimed and 
imperfect righteousness is accepted to salvation, as if it were 
every way absolute and perfect; for that so it should be, Christ 
has merited by his most perfect righteousness." But it is jus- 
tification alone and not salvation that we discourse about ; and 
that the works of obedience or righteousness have another 
respect to salvation, than they have to justification, is too plainly 
and too often expressed in the Scriptnre, to be modestly denied. 
And if this weak and imperfect righteousness of ours, be es- 
teemed and accepted as every way perfect before God, then 
either it is because God judges it to be perfect, and so declares 
us to be most just, and justified thereon in his sight, or he 
judges it not to be complete and perfect, yet declares us to be 
perfectly righteous in his sight thereby. Neither of these I sup- 
pose can well be granted. It will therefore be said, it is neither 
of them; but " Christ has obtained by his complete and most 
perfect righteousness and obedience, that this lame and imper- 
fect righteousness of ours should be accepted as every way 
perfect." And if it be so, it may be some will think it best not 
to go about by this weak, halt, and imperfect righteousness, 
but as to their justification betake themselves inmiediately to 
the most perfect righteousness of Christ, which 1 am sure the 
Scripture encourages them to. And they will be ready to think, 
that the righteousness which cannot justify itself, but must be 
obliged to grace and pardon through the merits of Christ, will 
never be able to justify them. But what will ensue on this 
explanation of the acceptance of our imperfect righteousness 
to justification upon the merit of Christ ? This only so far as 
I can discern, that Christ has merited and procured, either that 
God should judge that to be perfect, which is imperfect and de- 
clare us perfectly righteous when we are not so, or that he 
should judge the righteousness still to be imperfect (as it is) but 
declare us to be perfectly righteous with and by this imperfect 
righteousness. These are the plain paths that men walk in, 
who cannot deny but that there is a righteousness required to 
our justification, or that we may be declared righteous before 
God, in the sight of God, according to the judgment of God 


yet denying the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to as, 
will allow of no other righteousness to this end, but that which 
is so weak and imperfect as that no man can justify it in his 
own conscience, nor without a phrensy of pride, can think or 
imagine himself perfectly righteous thereby. 

And whereas it is added, that " he is blind who sees not that 
this righteousness of ours is subordinate to the righteousness 
of Christ," I must acknowledge myself otherwise minded, not- 
withstanding the severity of tliis censure. It seems to me that 
the righteousness of Christ is subordinate to this righteousness 
of our own, as here it is stated, and not the contrary. For tlie 
end of all is our acceptance with God as righteous. But ac- 
cording to these thoughts, it is our own righteousnesses where- 
on we are immediately accepted with God as righteous. Only 
Christ has deserved by his righteousness, that our righteous- 
ness may be so accepted, and is therefore as to the end of our 
justification before God, subordinate thereto. 

But to return from this digression, and to proceed to our 
argument ; this personal inherent righteousness which accord- 
ing to the Scripture we allow in believers, is not that whereby, 
or wherewith, we are justified before God. For it is not per- 
fect, nor perfectly answers any rule of obedience that is given 
to us, and so cannot he our righteousness before God to our 
justification. Wherefore we must be justified by the righteous- 
ness of Christ imputed to us, or be justified without respect to 
any righteousness, or not be justified at all. And a threefold 
impertection accompanies it. 

First, as to the principle of it, as it is habitually resident in 
us. P'or (1) There is a contrary principle of sin abiding with 
it in the same subject whilst we are in this world. For con- 
trary qualities may be in the same subject whilst neither of 
them is in the highest degree. So it is in this case. Gal. v. 17. 
" For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against 
the flesh, and these are contrary one to the other, so that ye 
cannot do the things that ye would." (2) None of the faculties 
of our souls are perfectly renewed whilst we are in this world. 
"The inward man is renewed day by day." 2 Cor. iv. 16. 
And we are always to be purging ourselvess from all poUution 
of flesh and spirit, 2 Cor. vii. 1. And hereto belongs whatever 
is spoken in the Scripture, whatever believers find in them- 
selves by experience of the remainders of indwelling sin, in 
the darkness of our minds, whence at best we know l)ut in 
part, and through ignorance are ready to wander out of the 


way, Heb. v. 2 ; in the deceitfulness of the heart, and disorder 
of affections, I understand not how any one can think of plead- 
ing his own righteousness in tlie sight of God, or suppose tliat 
he can be justified by it upon tliis single account of the imper- 
fection of its inherent habit or principle. Such notions arise 
from the ignorance of God and ourselves, or the want of a due 
consideration of the one and the other. Neither can I appre- 
hend how a thousand distinctions can safely introduce it into 
any place or consideration in our justification before God. He 
that can search in any measure by a spiritual light into his own 
heart and soul, will find, " God be merciful to me a sinner," a 
better plea than any he can be furnished with from any worth 
of his own. " What is man that he should be clean, and he 
that is born of a woman that he should be righteous?" Job xv. 
14 — 16 ; xviii. 19. Hence says Gregory in Job ix. lib. 9. cap. 14. 
[ft scepe dlximus, omnis justitia humana iiijustitia esse con- 
vincitur si distincte judicetur. Bernard speaks to the same 
purpose, and ahnost in the same words, Serm. fest. omn. sanct. 
Quid potest esss omnis humana justitia coram Deo? nonne juxta 
prophetam, velut paniius menstrualus reputabitur ; et si distincte 
judicetur, injustitia invenietur omnis justitia nostra et mimts 
habens. A man cannot be justified in any sense by that right- 
eousness which upon trial will appear rather to be an um-igiit- 

2. It is imperfect with respect to every act and duty of it, 
whether internal or external. Tiiere is iniquity cleaving to our 
holy things, and " all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," 
Isa. Ixiv. 6. It has been often and well observed, that if a 
man, the best of men, were left to choose the best of iiis works 
that ever he performed, and thereon to enter into judgment 
with God, if only under this notion, that he has answered and 
fulfilled the condition required of him, as to his acceptance 
With God, it would be his wisest cotu'se, (at least it would be 
so in the judgment of Bellarmine) to renounce it, and betake 
himself to grace and mercy alone. 

3. It is imperfect by reason of incursion of actual sins. 
Hence our Saviour has taught us continually to pray for the 
forgiveness of our sins ; and " if we say, that we have no sin 
we deceive ourselves ;" for " in many things we offend all." 
And what confidence can be placed in this righteousness, which 
those who plead for it in this cause, acknowledge to be weak, 
maimed and imperfect? 

I have but touched on these things, which might have been 



handled at large, and are indeed of great consideration in our 
l)resent argament. But enough has been spoken to manifest, 
that although this righteousness of believers be on other ac- 
counts like the fruit of the vine, that " glads the heart of God 
and man," yet as to our justification before God, it is like the 
wood of the vine, a pin is not to be taken from it to hang any 
weight of this cause upon. 

Two things are pleaded in the behalf of this righteousness 
and its influence on our justification. (1) That it is absolutely 
complete and perfect. Hence some say that they are perfect 
and sinless in this life. They have no more concern in the 
niortificaiion of sin, and growtli in grace. And indeed this is 
the only rational pretence of ascribing our" justification before 
God thereto. For were it so with any, what should hinder him 
from being justified thereon before God, but only that he has 
been a simier, which spoils the whole market ? But this vain 
iniaghiation is so contrary to the Scripture, and the experience 
of all that know the terror of the Lord, and what it is to walk 
humbly before him, that I shall not insist on the refutation of 
it. (2) It is pleaded, that although this righteousness be not 
an exact fulfilling of the moral law, yet is it the accomplish- 
ment of the condition of the new covenant, or entirely answers 
the law of grace, and all that is reipiired of us therein. 

Aus. 1. This wholly takes away sin and the pardon of it, 
no less than does the conceit of sinless perfection which we 
now rejected. For if our obedience answer the only law and 
rule of it whereby it is to be tried, measured and judged, then 
is there no sin in us nor need of pardon. No more is required 
of any man to keep him absolutely free from sin, but that he 
fully answer, and exactly comply with the rule and law of his 
obedience whereby he must be judged. On this supposition 
therefore there is neither sin, nor any need of the pardon of it. 
To say that there is still both sin, and need of pardon with re- 
spect to the moral law of God, is to confess that law to be the 
rule of our obedience, which this righteousness no way 
answers ; and therefore none by it can be justified in the sight 
of God. 

2. Although this righteousness be accepted in justified per- 
sons by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet consider the 
principle of it, with all the acts and duties wherein it consists, 
as they are required and prescribed in the gospel to us, and 
they do neither jointly nor severally fulfil and answer the com- 
mands of the gospel, no more than they do the connnands of 


the law. Wherefore they cannot all of them constitute a riglit- 
eonsiiess consisting in an exact conformity to the ruUis of the 
gospel, or the law of it. For it is impious to imagine that the 
gospel requiring any duty of us, suppose the love of God, 
makes any abatement, as to the matter, manner, or degrees of 
perfection in it, from what was required by the law. Does 
the gospel require a lower degree of love to God, a less perfect 
love than the law did ? God forbid. The same may be said 
concerning the inward frame of our natures, and all other 
duties whatever ; wherefore although this righteousness is ac- 
cepted in justified persons, (as God had respect to Abel, and 
then to his otfering) in the way and to the ends that shall be 
afterwards declared ; yet as it relates to the commands of the 
gospel, both it and all the duties of it, are no less imperfect, 
than it would be, if it should be left to its trial by the law of 
creation only. 

3. I know not what some men intend. On the one hand 
they affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ has enlarged and height- 
ened the spiritual sense of the moral law, and not only so, but 
added to it new precepts of more exact obedience than it 
required. But on the other they would have him to have 
brought down or taken oti' the obligation of the law, so that a 
man, according as he has adapted it to the use of the gospel, 
shall be judged of God to have fulfilled the whole obedience 
which it requires, who never answered any one precept of it 
according to its original sense and obligation. For so it must 
be, if this imperfect righteousness be on any account esteemed 
a fulfilling of the rule of our obedience, so that thereon we 
should be justified in the sight of God. 

4. This opinion puts an irreconcilable difference between the 
law and the gospel, not to be composed by any distinctions. 
For according to it, God declares by the gospel a man to be 
perfectly righteous, justified and blessed, upon the considera- 
tion of a righteousness, that is imperfect ; and in the law he 
pronounces every one accursed who continues not in all things 
required by it, and as they are therein required. But it is said 
that this righteousness is not otherwise to be considered, but 
as the condition of the new covenant whereon we obtain re- 
mission of sins on the sole account of the satisfaction of Christ 
wherein our justification consists. 

Ans. 1. Some indeed do say so, but not all, not the most, 
not the most learned with whom in this controversy we have 
to do. And hi oar pleas for wliat we believe to be the truth, 


we cannot always have respect to every private opinion where- 
by it is opposed. (2) Tiiat justification consists only in the 
pardon of sin, is so contrary to the signification of the word, 
the constant use of it in the Scripture, the common notion of it 
amongst manicind, the sense of men in their own consciences 
wlio find themselves under an obligation to duty, and express 
testimonies of the Scripture, that I somewhat wonder, how it 
can be pretended. But it shall be spoken to elsewhere. (.3) If 
this rigliteousness be tlie fulfilling of the condition of the new 
covenant whereon we are justified, it must be in itself such as 
exactly answers some rule or law of righteousness, and so be 
perfect, which it does not ; and therefore cannot bear the place 
of a rigliteousness hi our justification, (4) That this righteous- 
ness is the condition of our justification before God, or that 
interest in the righteousness of Christ whereby we are justified, 
is not proved, nor ever will be. 

I shall briefly add two or three considerations excluding this 
personal righteousness from its pretended interest in our justi- 
fication, and close this argument. 

1. That righteousness which neither answers the law of God, 
nor the end of God in our justification by the gospel, is not that 
whereon we are justified. But such is this inherent righteous- 
ness of believers, even of the best of them. (1) That it answers 
not the law of God has been proved from its imperfection. 
Nor will any sober person pretend that it exactly and perfectly 
fulfils the law of our creation. And this law cannot be dis- 
annulled whilst the relation of creator and rewarder on the one 
hand, and of creatures capable of obedience and rewards on 
the other, continues. Wherefore that which answers not this 
law will not justify us. For God will not abrogate that law, that 
the transgressors of it may be justified. "Do we," saith the 
Apostle (by the doctrine of justification by faith without works) 
"make void the law? God forbid; yea, we establish it," Rom. 
iii. 31. (2) That we should be justified with respect to it, 
answers not the end of God in our justification by the gospel. 
For this is to take away all glorying in ourselves, and all occa- 
sion of it, every thing that might give countenance to it, so 
tliat the whole might be to the praise of his own grace by 
Christ, Rom. iii. 27; 1 Cor. i. 29 — 31. How it is faith alone that 
gives glory to God herein, has been declared in the description 
of its nature. But it is evident tliat no man has, or can have 
possibly any other, any greater occasion of boasting in himself, 
with respect to his justification, than that he is justified on his 


performance of that condition of it, which consists in his own 
personal righteousness. 

2. No man was ever justified by it in his own conscience, 
much less can he be justified by it in the sight of God. For God 
is greater than our hearts and knows all things. There is no 
man so righteous, so holy in the Avhole world, nor ever was, 
but his own conscience would charge him in many things with 
his coming short of the obedience required of him, in matter or 
manner, in the kind or degrees of perfection. For " there is no 
man that livetli and siimeth not." Absolutely JSl'emo ahsohu'tur 
sejudice. Let any man be put to a trial in himself whether he 
can be justified in his own conscience, by his own righteous- 
ness, and he will be cast in the trial at his own judgment-seat. 
And he that does not thereon conclude, that there nmst be an- 
other righteousness whereby he must be justified, that origi- 
nally and inherently is not his own, will be at a loss for peace 
with God. But it will be said, that men may be justified in 
their consciences, that they have performed the condition of 
the new covenant, Avhich is all that is pleaded with respect to 
this righteousness. And I no way doubt but that men may 
have a comfortable persuasion of their own sincerity in obe- 
dience, and satisfaction in the acceptance of it with God. But 
it is when they try it, as an eftect of faitli, whereby they are 
justified, and not as the condition of their justification. Let it 
be thus stated in their minds that God recpiires a personal 
righteousness in order to their justification, whereon their de- 
termination must be, this is my righteousness which I present 
to God that I may be justified, and they will iiiid diiiiculty in 
arriving at it, if I be not much mistaken. 

3. None of the holy men of old whose faith and experience 
are recorded in the Scripture, did ever plead their own per- 
sonal righteousness under any notion of it, either as to the 
merit of their works, or as to their complete peribrmance of 
what was required of them as t!ie condition of the covenant in 
order to their justification before God. This has been spoken 
to before 





Our second argument shall be taken from the nature of that 
obedience or righteousness which God requires of us, that we 
may be accepted of him and approved by him. This being a 
large subject if fully to be handled, I shall reduce what is of 
our present concernment in it to some special heads or obser- 

1. God being a most perfect, and therefore a most free agent, 
all his actings towards mankind, all his dealings with them, all 
his constitutions and laws concerning them, are to be resolved 
into his own sovereign will and pleasure. No other reason can 
be given of the original, of the whole system of them. This 
the Scripture testifies to, Psa. cxv. 3 ; cxxxv. 6 ; Prov. xvi. 4; 
Ephes. i. 9, 11 ; Rev. iv. 11. The being, existence, and natu- 
ral circumstances of all creatures, being an effect of the free 
counsel and pleasure of God, all that belongs to them must be 
ultimately resolved thereinto, 

2. Upon a supposition of some free acts of the will of God 
and the execution of them, constituting an order in the things 
that outwardly are of him, and their mutual respect to one 
another, some things may become necessary in this relative 
state, whose being was not absolutely necessary in its own 
nature. The order of all things and their mutual respect to 
one another, depends on God's free constitution, no less than 
their being absolutely. But upon a supposition of that consti- 
tution, tilings have in that order, a necessary relation one to 
another, and all of them to God. Wherefore 

3. It was a free sovereign act of God's will to create, effect 
or produce such a creature as man is ; that is, of a nature in- 
telligent, rational, capable of moral obedience with rewards 
and punishments. But on a supposition hereof, man so freely 
made, could not be governed any other ways but by a morai 
instrument of law or rule, influencing the rational faculties of 
liis soul to obedience, and guiding him therein. He could not 
in that constitution be contained under the rule of God, by a 
mere physical influence, as are all irrational or brute creatures. 
To siij'pose it, is to deny or destroy the essential faculty and 


powers wherewith he was created. Wherefore on the suppo- 
sition of his being, it was necessary that a law or rule of obe- 
dience should be prescribed to him, and be the instrument of 
God's government towards him. 

4. This necessary law, so far forth as it was necessary, did 
immediately and unavoidably ensue upon the constitution of 
our natures in relation to God. Supposing the nature, being, 
and properties of God, with the works of creation on the one 
hand ; and supposing the being, existence, and the nature of 
man, with his necessary relation to God, on the other, the law 
whereof we speak is nothing but the rule of that relation, which 
can neither be, nor be preserved, without it. Hence is this law 
eternal, indispensable, admitting of no other variation, than 
does the relation between God and man, which necessarily 
arises from their distinct natures and properties. 

5. The substance of this law was, that man adhering to God, 
absolutely, universally, unchangeably, uninterruptedly, in trust, 
love, and fear, as the chiefest good, the first Author of his be- 
ing, of all the present and fiUure advantages whereof it was 
capable, should yield obedience to him, with respect to his in- 
finite wisdom, righteousness and almighty power, to protect, 
reward, and punish, in all things known to be his will and 
pleasure, either by the light of his own mind, or especial reve- 
lation made to him. And it is evident that no more is required 
to the constitution and establishment of this law, but that God 
be God, and man be man, with the necessary relation that 
nuist thereon ensue between them. Wherefore 

6. This law eternally and unchangeably obliges all men to 
obedience to God ; even that obedience which it requires, and 
in the manner wherein it requires it. For both the substance 
of what it requires, and the manner of the performance of it, 
as to measures and degrees, are equally necessary and unalter- 
able, upon the suppositions laid dpwn. For God cannot deny 
himself, nor is the nature of man Changed as to the essence of 
it whereto alone respect is had in this law, by any thing that 
can fall out. And although God might superadd to the original 
obligations of this law, what arbitrary commands he pleased, 
such as did not necessarily proceed or arise from the relation 
between him and us, which might be, and be continued, with- 
out them ; yet would they be resolved into that principle of 
this law, that God in all things was absolutely to be trusted 
and obeyed. 

7. " Known unto God are all his works from the foundation 


of the world." In the constitation of this order of things he 
made it possible, and foresaw it would be future, that man 
would rebel against the preceptive power of this law, and dis- 
turb that order of things wherein he was placed under his mo- 
ral rule. This gave occasion to that effect of infinite divine 
righteousness, in constituting the punishment that man should 
fall under upon his transgression of this law. Neither was this 
an effect of arbitrary will and pleasure, any more than the law 
itself was. Upon the supposition of the creation of man, the 
law mentioned was necessary from all the divine properties of 
the nature of God ; and upon a supposition that man would 
transgress that law, God being now considered as his ruler and 
governor, the constitution of the punishment due to his sin and 
transgression of it, was a necessary effect of divine righteous- 
ness. This it would not have been, had the law itself been 
arbitrary. But that being neccessary, so was tlie penalty of its 
transgression. Wherefore the constitution of this penalty, is 
liable to no more change, alteration, or abrogation, than the 
law itself, without an alteration in the state and relation be- 
tween God and man. 

8. This is that law, which our Lord Jesus Christ came not to 
destroy, but to fulfil, that he might be the end of it for right- 
eousness to them that believe. This law he abrogated not, nor 
could do so without a destruction of the relation that is be- 
tween God and man, arising from or ensuing necessarily on 
their distinct beings and properties. But as this cannot be de- 
stroyed, so the Lord Christ came to a contrary end ; namely, 
to repair and restore it where it was weakened. Wherefore 

9. This law, the law of sinless perfect obedience, with its 
sentence of the punishment of death on all transgressors, does 
and must abide in force for ever in this world ; for there is no 
more required hereto, but that God be God, and man be man. 
Yet shall this be further proved. 

1. There is nothing, not one word in the Scripture intimating 
any alteration in, or abrogation of this law ; so that anj^ thing 
should not be duty which it makes to be duty, or any thing not 
be sin, which it makes to be sin, either as to matter or degrees: 
or that the thing which it makes to be sin, or which is sin by 
the rule of it, should not merit and deserve that pimishment 
wliich is declared in the sanction of it, or threatened by it. 
" The wages of sin is death." If any testimony of Scripture 
can be produced to either of these purposes, namely, that either 
any thing is not sin, in the way of omission or commission, in 


the matter or manner of its performance, which is made to be 
so by this law, or that any such sin, or any thing that would 
have been sin by this law, is exempted from the punishment 
threatened by it, as to merit or desert, it shall be attended to. 
It is therefore in universal force towards all mankind. There 
is no relief in this case ; but " Behold the Lamb of God." 

In exception hereto it is pleaded, that when it was first given 
to Adam, it was the rule and instrument of a covenant between 
God and man, a covenant of works and perfect obedience. But 
upon the entrance of sin, it ceased to have the nature of a cove- 
nant to any. And it has so ceased, that on an impossible sup- 
position, that any man should fulfil the perfect righteousness 
of it, yet should he not be justified or obtain the benefit of the 
covenant thereby. It is not therefore only become ineffectual 
to us as a covenant by reason of our weakness and disability 
to perform it, but it has ceased in its own nature so to be. But 
these things as they are not to our present purpose, so are they 
wholly unproved. For 

1. Our discourse is not about the federal adjunct of the law, 
but about its moral nature only. It is enough, that as a law, 
if continues to oblige all mankind to perfect obedience under 
its original penalty. For hence it will unavoidably follow, that 
unless the commands of it be complied with and fulfilled, the 
penalty will fall on all that transgress it. And those who grant 
that this law is still in force as to its being a rule of obedience, 
or as to its requiring duties of us, grant all that we desire. For 
it requires no obedience, but what it did in its original constitu- 
tion, that is, sinless and perfect ; and it requires no duty, nor 
prohibits any sin, but under the penalty of death upon disobe- 

2. It is true, that he who is once a sinner, if he should after- 
wards yield all that perfect obedience to God that the law re- 
quires, could nof thereby obtain the benefit of the promise of 
tlie covenant. But the sole reason of it is, because he is antece- 
dently a sinner, and so obnoxious to the curse of the law. And 
no man can be obnoxious to its ciuse, and have a right to its 
promise at the same time. But so to lay the supposition, that 
the same person is by any means free from the curse due to 
sin, and then to deny that, upon the performance of that perfect 
sinless obedience which the law requires, he should not have 
right to the promise of life thereby, is to deny the truth of 
God, and to reflect the highest dishonour upon his justice 
Jesus Christ himself was justified by this law. And it is im 


mutably true, that " he who doth the things of it shall live 

3. It is granted, that man continued not in the observance 
of this law, as it was the rule of the covenant between God 
and him. It was not the covenant, but the rule of it, and its 
being such was superadded to its being as a law. For the cove- 
nant comprised things that were not any part of a result from 
the necessary relation of God and man. Wherefore man by 
his sin as to demerit, may be said to break this covenant, and 
as to any benefit to himself to disannul it. It is also true, that 
God did never formally and absolutely renew or give again this 
law as a covenant a second time. Nor was there any need that 
so he should do, unless it were declaratively only, for so it was 
renewed at Sinai. For the whole of it being an emanation of 
eternal right and truth, it abides and must abide in full force 
for ever. Wherefore it is only thus far broken as a covenant, 
that all mankind, having sinned against the commands of it, 
and so by gnilt with the impotency to obedience which ensued 
thereon^ defeated themselves of any interest in its promise, and 
possibility of attaining any such interest, camiot have any bene- 
fit by it. But as to its power to oblige all mankind to obe- 
dience, and the unchangeable truth of its promises and threat- 
enings, it abides the same as it was from the beginning. 

2dly, Take away this law, and there is left no standard of 
righteousness to mankind, no certain boundaries of good and 
evil, but those pillars whereon God has fixed the earth are left 
to move and float up and down like the isle of Delos in the sea. 
Some say, the rule of good and evil to men is not this law in 
its original constitution, but the light of nature, and the dic- 
tates of reason. If they mean that light which was primoge- 
nial and concreated with our natures, and those dictates of 
right and wrong which reason originally suggested and approv- 
ed, they only say in other words, that this latv is still the unal- 
terable rule of obedience to all mankind. But if they intend 
the remaining light of nature that continues in every individual 
in this depraved state thereof, and that under such additional 
depravations as traditions, customs, prejudices, and lusts of all 
sorts, have affixed to the most, there is nothing more irrational, 
and it is that which is charged with no less inconvenience than 
that it leaves no certain boundaries of good and evil. That 
which is good to one, will on this ground be in its own nature 
evil to another, and so on the contrary ; and all the idolaters 
that ever were in the world might on this pretence be excused. 


3dly, Conscience bears witness hereto. There is no good 
nor evil required or forbidden by this law, that upon the dis- 
covery of it, any man in the world can persuade or bribe his 
conscience not to comply with it in judgment, as to his con- 
cernment therein. It will accuse and excuse, condemn and free 
liim, according to the sentence of this law, let him do what he 
can to the contrary. 

In brief it is acknowledged, that God by virtue of his 
■supreme dominion over all, may in some instances change the 
nature and order of things, so that the precepts of the divine 
law shall not in them operate in their ordinary efficacy. So 
was it in the case of his command to Abraham to slay his son, 
and to the Israelites to rob the Egyptians. But on a supposi- 
tion of the continuance of that order of things which this law 
is the preservative of, such is the intrinsic nature of the good 
and evil commanded and forbidden therein, that it is not the 
subject of divine dispensation, as even the schoolmen generally 

10. From what we have discoursed, two things unavoidably 

1. That whereas all mankind have by sin fallen under the 
penalty threatened to the transgression of this law ; and suffer- 
ing of this penalty which is eternal death, being inconsistent 
with acceptance before God, or the enjoyment of blessedness, 
it is utterly impossible that any one individual of the posterity 
of Adam should be justified in the sight of God, accepted with 
him or blessed by him, unless this penalty be answered, under- 
gone, and suffered by them or for them ; the Sixaiwjita tov @(ov 
herein is not to be abolished but established. 

2. That to the same end of acceptance with God, justification 
before him and blessedness from him, the righteousness of this 
eternal law must be fulfilled in us, in such a way, that in the 
judgment of God which is according to truth, we may be es- 
teemed to have fulfilled it, and be dealt with accordingly. For 
upon a supposition of a failure herein, the sanction of the law 
Is not arbitrary, so that the penalty may or may not be inflict- 
ed, but necessary from the righteousness of God as the supreme 
governor of all. 

11. About the first of these our controversy is with the So- 
cinians only, who deny the satisfaction of Christ, and any ne- 
cessity thereof. Concerning this I have treated elsewhere at 
large, and expect not to see an answer to what I have disputed 
on that subject. As to the latter of them, we must inquire how 


we may be supposed to comply with the rule, and answer the 
righteousness of his unalterable law, whose authority we can 
no way be exempted from. And that which we plead is, that 
the obedience and righteousness of Christ imputed to us ; his 
obedience as the surety of the new covenant, granted to us, 
made ours by the gracious constitution, sovereign appointment 
and donation of God, is that whereon we are judged and es- 
teemed to have answered the righteousness of the law, " By 
the obedience of one many are made righteous." Rom. v. 19. 
" That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." 
Rom. viii. 4. And hence we argue, 

If there be no other way whereby the righteousness of the 
law may be fulfilled in us, without which we cannot be justi- 
fied, but must fall inevitably under the penalty threatened to 
the transgression of it, but only the righteousness of Christ im- 
puted to us, then is that the sole righteousness whereby we 
are justified in the sight of God ; but the former is true, and so 
therefore is the latter. 

12. On the supposition of this law, and its original obliga- 
tion to obedience with its sanction and threatenings, there can 
be but one of three ways whereby we may come to be justified 
before God, who have sinned, and are no way able in ourselves 
to perform the obedience for the future which it requires. And 
each of them has a respect to a sovereign act of God with re- 
ference to this law. The first is the abrogation of it, that it 
should no more oblige us either to obedience or punishment. 
This we have proved impossible ; and they will wofully deceive 
their own souls, who shall trust to it. The second is by trans- 
ferring of its obligation to the end of justification on a surety or 
common undertaker. This is that which we plead for, as the 
substance of the mystery of the gospel, considering the person 
and grace of this undertaker or surety. And herein all things 
tend to the exaltation of the glory of God in all the holy pro- 
perties of his nature, with the fulfilling and establishing of the 
law itself, Matt. v. 17; Rom. iii. 31 ; viii. 4; x. 3, 4. The third 
way is by an act of God towards the law, and another towards 
us, whereby the nature of the righteousness which the law re- 
quires is changed ; which we shall examine as the only reserve 
against our present argument. 

1 3. It is said, therefore, that by our own personal obedience 
we answer the righteousness of the law so far as it is required 
of us. But whereas no sober person can imagine that we can 
or that any one in our lapsed condition ever did yield in our 


own persons that perfect sinless obedience to God which is re- 
quired of us in tlie law of creation, two things are supposed, 
that our obedience, such as it is, may be accepted witii God as 
if it were sinless and perfect. For although some will not allow 
that the righteousness of Christ is imputed #o us for what it 
is, yet they contend that our own righteousness is imputed to 
us for what it is not. . Of these things the one respects the law, 
the other our obedience. 

14. That which respects the law is not the abrogation of it. 
For although this would seem the most expeditious way for 
the reconciliation of this ditRculty, namely, that the law of 
creation is utterly abrogated by the gospel, both as to its obli- 
gation to obedience and punishment ; and no law to be con- 
tinued in force but that which requires only sincere obedience 
of us, whereof there is, as to the manner of the performance 
of duties, not any absolute rule or measure, yet this is not by 
many pretended. They say not that this law is so abrogated, 
as that it should not have the power and efficacy of a law to- 
wards us. Nor is it possible it should be so ; nor can any pre- 
tence be given how it should so be. It is true, it was broken 
by man, is so by us all, and that with respect to its principal 
end of our subjection to God, and dependence upon him, ac- 
cording to the rule of it. But it is foolish to think that the fault 
of those to whom a righteous law is rightly given, should abro- 
gate or disannul the law itself. A law that is good and just 
may cease and expire as to any power of obligation upon the 
ceasing or expiration of the relation which it respected. So the 
Apostle tells us, that when the husband of a woman is dead, 
she is free from the law of her husband, Rom. vii. 2. But the 
relation between God and us, which was constituted in our first 
creation, can never cease. But a law cannot be abrogated 
without a new law given, and made by the same, or an equal 
power that made it, either expressly revoking it, or enjoining 
things inconsistent with it, and contradictory to its observation. 
In the latter way the law of Mosaical institutions was abro- 
gated and disannulled. There was not any positive law made 
for the taking of it away ; but the constitution and introduction 
of a new way of worship by the gospel inconsistent with, 
and contrary to it, deprived it of all its obligatory power and 
efficacy. But neither of these ways has God taken away the 
obligation of the original law of obedience, either as to duties 
or recompenses of reward. Neither is there any direct law 
made for its abrogation; nor has he given any new lawof mo- 



ral obedience either inconsistent with, or contrary to it. Yea 
in the gospel it is declared to be estabUshed and fulfilled. 

It is true, as was observed before, that this law was made 
the instrument of a covenant between God and man ; and so 
there is another\eason of it ; for God has actually introduced 
another covenant inconsistent with it, and contrary to it. 
But yet neither does this instantly and ipw faclo free all men 
from the law, in the way of a covenant. For to the obliga- 
tion of a law there is no more required, but that the matter 
of it be just and righteous, that it be given or made by him 
who has just authority so to give or make it, and be sutii- 
ciently declared to them who are to be obliged by it. Hence 
the making and promulgation of a new law, does ipso facto 
abrogate any former law that is contrary to it, and frees all 
men from obedience to it, who were before obliged by it. But 
in a covenant it is not so. For a covenant does not operate 
by mere sovereign authority; it becomes not a covenant with- 
out the consent of them with whom it is made. Wherefore 
no benefit accrues to any, or freedom from the old covenant, 
by the constitution of the new, unless he has actually complied 
with it, has chosen it, and is interested in it thereby. The 
first covenant made with Adam, we did in him consent to, and 
accept of. And therein notwithstanding our sin, do we and 
must we abide, that is, under the obligation of it to duty and 
punishment, until by faith we are made partakers of the new. 
It cannot therefore be said, that we are not concerned in the 
fulfilling of the righteousness of this law, because it is abro- 

15. Nor can it be said that the law has received a new 
interpretation, whereby it is declared, that it does not oblige, 
nor shall be construed for the future to oblige any to sinless 
and perfect obedience, but may be complied with on far easier 
terms. For the law being given to us when we were sinless, 
and on purpose to continue and preserve us in that condition, 
it is absurd to say that it did not oblige us to sinless obedience; 
and not an interpretation, but a plain perversion of its sense 
and meaning. Nor is any such thing once intimated in the 
gospel. Yea, the discourses of our Saviour upon the law, are 
absolutely destructive of any such imagination. For whereas 
the Scribes and Pharisees had attempted by their false glosses 
and interpretations to accomodate the law to the inclinations 
and lusts of men, (a course since pursued both notionally and 
practically, as all who design to burden the consciences of 


men with their own commands endeavour constantly to re- 
compense them, by an indulgence with respect to tlie com- 
mands of God ;) he on the contrary rejects all such pretended 
accommodations and interpretations, restoring the law to its 
pristine crown, as the Jews' tradition is, that the Messiah 
shall do. 

16. Nor can a relaxation of the law be pretended, if there 
be any such thing in rule. For if there be, it respects tlie whole 
being of the law, and consists either in the suspension of its 
whole obligation, at least for a senson, or the substitution of 
another person to answer its demands, who was not in the 
original obligation, in the room of them that were. For so 
some say, that the Lord Christ was made imder the law for 
us by an act of relaxation of the original obligation of the law ; 
how properly, let them see to it. But here in no sense it can 
have place. 

17. The act of God towards the law in this case intended, 
is a derogation from its obliging power as to obedience. For 
whereas it originally obliged to perfect sinless obedience, in 
all duties both as to their substance, and the manner of their 
performance, it shall be allowed to oblige us still to obedience, 
but not to that which is absolutely the same, especially not as 
to the completeness and perfection of it. For if it do so, either 
it is fulfilled in the righteousness of Christ for us, or no man 
living can ever be justified in the sight of God. Wherefore by 
an act of derogation from its original power, it is provided, 
that it shall oblige us still to obedience, but not that which is 
absolutely sinless and perfect ; but although it be performed 
with less intention of love to God, or in a lower degree, than 
it did at first require, so it be shicere and universal as to all the 
parts of it, it is all that the law now requires of us. This is all 
that it now requires, as it is adapted to the service of the new 
covenant, and made the rule of obedience according to the law 
of Christ. Hereby is its preceptive part, so far as we are con- 
cerned in it, answered and complied with. Whether these 
things are so or no, we shall see immediately in a few words. 

18. Hence it follows, that the act of God with respect to our 
obedience, is not an act of judgment according to any rule or 
law of his own ; but an esteeming, accounting, accepting that 
as perfect or in the room of that which is perfect, which really 
and in truth is not so. 

19. It is added that both these depend on, and are the pro- 
curements of the obedience, suffering, and merits of Christ. 


For on their account it is, that our Aveak and imperfect obe- 
dience is accepted as if it were perfect, and the power of the 
law, to require obedience absohitely perfect is taken away. 
And these being tlie effects of the righteousness of Ciirist, that 
righteousness may. on their account, and so i'ar, be said to be 
imputed to us. 

20. But notwithstanding the great endeavours that have 
been used to give a colour of truth to these things, they are 
both of them but fictions and imaginations of men tliat have no 
ground in the Scripture, nor comply with the experience of 
them that believe. 

For to touch a little on the latter, in the first place ; there is 
no true believer but has these two things fixed in his mind 
and conscience. 

(1.) That there is nothing in principles, habits, qualities, or 
actions, wherein he comes short of a perfect compliance with 
the holy law of God, even as it required perfect obedience, but 
that it has in it the nature of sin, and that in itself deserving the 
curse annexed originally to the breach of that law. They do not 
therefore apprehend that its obligation is taken off, weakened 
or derogated from, in any thing. (2) That there is no relief for 
him, with respect to what the law requires, or to what it 
threatens, but by the mediation of Jesus Christ alone, who of 
God is made righteousness to him. Wherefore they do not 
rest in, or on the acceptance of their own obedience such as 
it is, to answer the law, but trust to Christ alone for their ac- 
ceptance with God. 

21. They are both of them doctrinally untrue ; for as to the 
former: (1) It is unwritten. There is no intimation in the Scrip- 
ture of any such dispensation of God with reference to the origi- 
nal law of obedience. Much is spoken of our deliverance from 
the curse of the law by Christ, but of the abatement of its pre- 
ceptive power nothing at all. (2) It is contrary to the Scrip- 
ture. For it is plainly affirmed that the law is not to be abol- 
ished, but fulfilled ; not to be made void, but to be established; 
that the righteousness of it must be fulfilled in us. (3) It is a 
supposition both unreasonable and impossible. For (1) the 
law was a representation to us of the holiness of God, and his 
righteousness in the government of his creatures. There can 
be no alteration made herein, seeing with God himself there is 
no variableness nor shadow of changing. (2) It would leave 
no standard of righteousness, but only a Lesbian rule, which 
turns and applies itself to the light and abilities of men, and 


leaves at least as many various measures of righteousness as 
there are believers in the world. (3) It concludes a variation 
in the centre of all religion which is the natural and moral rela- 
tion of men to God. For so there must be, if all that was once 
necessary thereto, do not still continue so to be. (4) It is dis- 
honourable to the mediation of Christ. For it makes the prin- 
cipal end of it to be, that God should accept of a righteousness 
to our justification, hiexpressibly beneath that which he re- 
quired in the law of our creation. And this in a sense makes 
him the minister of sin, or that he has procured an indulgence 
for it ; not by the way of satisfaction and pardon whereby he 
takes away the guilt of it from the church ; but by taking from 
it its nature and demerit, so that what was so originally should 
not continue so to be, or at least not deserve the punishment 
it was first threatened with. (5) It reflects on the goodness of 
God himself. For on this supposition that he has reduced his 
law into that state and order, as to be satisfied by an observa- 
tion of it so weak, so imperfect, accompanied with so many 
failures and sins, as it is with the obedience of the best men in 
this world, (whatever thoughts to the contrary the frenzy of 
pride may suggest to the minds of any) what reason can be 
given consistent with his goodness why he should give a law 
at first of perfect obedience, which one sin laid all mankind 
under the penalty of to their ruin ? 

22. All these things and sundry others of the same kind, 
follow also on the second supposition of an imaginary estima- 
tion of that as perfect, which is imperfect, as sinless which is 
attended with sins innumerable. But the judgment of God is 
according to truth ; neither will he reckon that to us for a per- 
fect righteousness in his sight, which is so imperfect as to be 
like tattered rags, especially, having promised to us robes of 
righteousness and garments of salvation. 

That which necessarily follows on these discourses is. That 
there is no other way whereby the original, immutable law of 
God may be established, and fulfilled whh respect to us, but 
by the imputation of the perfect obedience and righteousness 
of Christ, who is the end of the law for righteousness to all thai 





From the foregoing general argument, another issues in par- 
ticular, with respect to the imputation of the active obedience 
or righteousness of Christ to us, as an essential part of that 
righteousness whereon we are justified before God. And it is 
as follows. If it were necessary tliat the Lord Christ, as our 
surety, should undergo the penalty of the law for us, or in our 
stead, because we have all sinned ; then it was necessary also, 
that as our surety he should yield obedience to the preceptive 
part of the law for us also : and if the imputation of the former 
be needful for us to our justification before God, then is the im- 
putation of the latter also necessary to the same end and pur- 
pose. For why was it necessary, or why would God have it 
so, that the Lord Christ, as the surety of the covenant, should 
undergo the curse and penalty of the law, which we had in- 
curred the guilt of by sin, that we may be justified in his sight? 
Was it not, that the glory and honour of his righteousness, as 
the author of the law, and the supreme governor of all man- 
kind, thereby might not be violated in the absolute impunity of 
the hifringers of it ,-* And if it were requisite to the glory of God, 
that the penalty of the law should be undergone for us, or 
suffered by our surety in our stead, because we had sinned ; 
wherefore is it not as requisite to the glory of God, that the 
preceptive part of the law be complied with for us, in as much 
as obedience thereto is required of us? And as we are no more 
able of ourselves to fulfil the law, in a way of obedience, than 
to undergo the penalty of it, so that we may be justified there- 
by ; so no reason can be given, why God is not as much con- 
cerned in honour and glory, that the preceptive power and part 
of the law be complied with, by perfect obedience, as that the 
sanction of it be established by undergoing the penalty of it. 
Upon the same grounds, therefore, that the Lord Christ's suf- 
fering the penalty of the law for us was necessary that we 
might be justified in the sight of God, and that the satisfaction 
he made thereby be imputed to us, as if we ourselves had made 
satisfaction to God, as Bellarmine s])eaks and grants ; on the 
same it was equally necessary, that is, as to the glory and 


honour of the legislator and supreme gov^ernor of all by the law, 
that he should fulfil the preceptive partof it, in his perfect obe- 
dience thereto, which also is to be imputed to us for our justi- 

Concerning the first of these, namely, the satisfaction of 
Christ, and the imputation of it to us, our principal difference 
is with the Socinians, And I have elsewhere written so much 
in the vindication of the truth therein, that I shall not here 
again resume the same argument : it is here therefore taken for 
granted, although I know that there are some different appre- 
hensions about the notion of Christ's suffering in our stead, and 
of the imputation of those sufferings to us. But I shall here 
take no notice of them, seeing I press this argument no further, 
but only so far, that the obedience of Christ to the law, and 
the imputation thereof to us, is no less necessary to our justifi- 
cation before God, than his suffering of the penalty of the law, 
and the imputation thereof to us, to the same end. The nature 
of this imputation, and what it is formally that is imputed we 
have considered elsewhere. 

That the obedience of Christ the mediator is thus imputed 
to us, shall be afterwards proved in particular by testimonies 
of the Scripture. Here I intend only the vindication of the 
argument as before laid down, which will take us up a little 
more time than ordinary. For there is nothing in the whole 
doctrine of justification, which meets with a more fierce and 
various opposition : but the truth is great and will prevail. 

The things that are usually objected and vehemently urged 
against the imputation of the obedience of Christ for our justi- 
fication, may be reduced to three heads. (1.) That it is im- 
possible. (2.) That it is useless. (3.) That it is pernicious to 
believe it. And if the arguments used for the enforcement of 
those objections, be as cogent as the charge itself is fierce and 
severe, they will unavoidably overthrow the persuasions of it 
in the minds of all sober persons. But there is ofttimes a wide 
difference between what is said, and what is proved, as will 
appear in the present case. 

1. It is pleaded impossible on this single ground ; namely, 
" that the obedience of Christ to the law was due from him on 
his own account, and performed by him for himself, as a man 
made under the law. Now what was necessary to himself, 
and done for himself, cannot be said to be done for us, so as to 
be imputed to us." 

2. It is pretended to be useless from hence, because "all our 


sins of omission and commission being pardoned in our justifi- 
cation on the account of tlie death and satisfaction of Clirist, 
we are thereby made completely righteous ; so that there is not 
the least necessity for, or use of the imputation of the obedi- 
ence of Christ to us." 

3. Pernicious also they say it is, as that which takes away 
the necessity of our own personal obedience, introducing anti- 
nomianism, libertinism, and all manner of evils. 

For this last part of the charge, I refer it to its proper place. 
For although it be urged by some against this part of the doc- 
trine of justification in a peculiar manner, yet it is managed 
by others, against the whole of it. And although we should 
grant, that the obedience of Christ to the law, is not imputed 
to us for our justification, yet shall we not be freed from dis- 
turbance by this false accusation; unless we will renounce the 
whole of the satisfaction and merit of Christ also. And we 
intend not to purchase our peace with the whole world at so 
dear a rate. Wherefore I shall in its proper place give this 
part of the charge its due consideration, as it reflects on the 
whole doctrine of justification, and all the cause thereof, which 
we believe and profess. 

The first part of this charge, concerning the impossibility of 
the imputation of the obedience of Christ to us, is insisted on 
by Socinus. And there has been nothing since pleaded to the 
same purpose, but what has been derived from him, or where- 
in, at least, he has not anticipated the inventions of other men, 
and gone before them. And he makes this consideration the 
principle engine wherewith he endeavours tiie overthrow of 
the whole doctrine of the merit of Christ. For he supposes, 
that if all he did in a way of obedience, was due from himself 
on his own account, and was only the duty which he owed to 
God for himself in his station and circumstances, as a man in 
this world, it cannot be meritorious for us, nor any way im- 
puted to us. And in like manner to weaken the doctrine of 
his satisfaction, and the imputation thereof to us, he contends 
that Christ otfered as a priest for himself, in tliat kind of olfer- 
ing which he made on the cross. And his real opinion was, 
that whatever was of off"ering or sacrifice in the death of 
Christ, it was for himself; that is, it was an act of obedience 
to God which pleased him, as the savour of a sweet smelling 
sacrifice. His offering for us, is only the presentation of him- 
self in the presence of God in heaven ; now he has no more to 
do for himself in a way of duty. And the truth is, if the obe- 


dience of Christ had respect to himself only ; that is, if he 
yielded it to God, on the necessity of his condition, and did not 
do it for us, I see no foundation left to assert his merit upon, 
no more than I do for the imputation of it to them that be- 

That which we plead is, that the Lord Christ fulfilled the 
whole law for us ; he did not only undergo the penalty of it 
due to our sins, but also yielded that perfect obedience which it 
required. And herein I shall not involve myself in the debate 
of the distinction between the active and passive obedience of 
Christ. For he exercised the highest active obedience in his 
suffering, when he offered himself to God through the eternal 
Spirit. And all his obedience, considering his person, was 
mixed with suffering, as a part of his exinanition and humilia- 
tion ; whence it is said, that " though he was a Son, yet learn- 
ed he obedience by the things that he suffered." And al- 
though doing and suffering are in various categories of things, 
yet Scripture testimonies are not to be regulated by philoso- 
phical artifices and terms. And it must needs be said, that the 
sufferings of Christ as they were purely penal, are imperfectly 
called his passive righteousness. For all righteousness is either 
in habit, or in action, whereof suffering is neither ; nor is any 
man righteous, or so esteemed from what he suffers. Neither 
do sufferings give satisfaction to the commands of the law, 
which require only obedience. And hence it will unavoidably 
follow, that we have need of more than the mere sufferings of 
Christ, whereby we may be justified before God, if so be that 
any righteousness be required thereto. But the whole of what 
I intend is, that Christ's fulfilling of the law in obedience to its 
commands, is no less imputed to us for our justification, than 
his undergoing the penalty of it is. 

I cannot but judge it sounds ill in the ears of all Christians, 
that the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ as our mediator 
and surety to the whole law of God, was for himself alone, and 
not for us ; or that what he did therein, was not that he might 
be the end of the law for righteousness to them that do believe, 
nor a means of the fulfilling of the righteousness of the law in 
us ; especially considering, that the faith of the Church is, that 
he was given to us, born to us ; that for us men, and for our 
salvation he came down from heaven, and did and suffered 
what was required of him. But whereas some who deny the 
imputation of the obedience of Christ to us, for our justification, 
do insist principally on the second thing mentioned, namely, 


the unusefnlness of it, I shall, under this first part of the charge, 
consider only the argnings of Socinus, which is the whole of 
what some at present endeavour to perplex the truth with.* 

I have transcribed his words, that it may appear with whose 
weapons some young disputers, among ourselves, contend 
against the truth. The substance of his plea is, " that our Lord 
Jesus Christ was for himself, or on his own account, obliged to 
all that obedience which he performed." And this he endea- 
vours to prove with this reason, " because if it were otherwise, 
then he might, if he would, have neglected the whole law of 
God, and have broken it at his pleasure." For he forgot to 
consider, that if lie were not obliged to it upon his own account, 
but was so on ours, whose cause he had undertaken, the obli- 
gation on him to most perfect obedience, was equal to what it 
would have been, had he been originally obliged on his own 
account. However hence he infers, that what he did, (iould 
not be for us, " because it was so for himself, no more than 
what any other man is bound to do in a way of duty for him- 
self, can be esteemed to have been done also for another." For 
he will allow of none of those considerations of the person of 
Christ which makes what he did and suffered, of another na- 
ture and efficacy, than what can be done or suffered by any 
other man. All that he adds, in the process of his discourse, 
is, " that whatever Christ did, that was not required by the law 
in general, was upon the especial command of God, and so 
done for himself; whence it cannot be imputed to us." And 
hereby he excludes the Church from any benefit by the media 
tion of Christ, but only what consists in his doctrine, example, 
and the exercise of his power in heaven for our good, which 
was the thing that he aimed at. But we shall consider those 
also which make use of his arguments, though not as yet openly 
to all his ends. 

To clear the truth herein, the things ensuing must be ob- 

* Jam vero manifestum est, Christum quia homo natus fuerat, et quidem, 
ut inquit Paulus, factus sub lege, Icgi divince inquam, quae seterna et immu 
tabilis est, non minus quam cajteri homines obnoxium fuisse. Alioqui potuis- 
set Christiis aeternam Dei legem neeligere, sive etiam universam si vohiissel 
infringere, quod impiiim est vel cogrtare. Immo ut supra alicubiexplicatum 
fuit, nisi . ipse Christus legi divinaj servandoe obnoxius fuisset, ut ex Pauli 
verbis colligitur, non potuisset iis, qui ei legi servandEe obnoxii sunt, opern 
ferre et eos ad immortalitatis firmam spem Iraducere. Non differebat igitur 
hac quidem ex parte Clu'istus, quando homo natus erat, a caeteris hominibus. 
Quocirca nee etiam pro aliis, magis quam quilibet alius homo, legem divi 
nam conservando, satisfaccre potuit, quippe qni ipse earn servare omnino 
debuit. — De Servat. par. iii. cap. 5. 


1. The obedience we treat of, was the obedience of Christ 
the JNfediator. But the obedience of Christ as the Mediator of 
the covenant, was tlie obedience of his person : for " God re- 
deemed his church with his own blood," Acts xx. 28. It was 
performed in the human nature, but the person of Christ was 
he that performed it. As in tiie person of a man, some of his 
acts, as to tlie immediate principle of operation, are acts of the 
body, and some are acts of the soul, yet in their performance 
and accomplishment, are they the acts of the person ; so the 
acts of Christ in his mediation, as to their ivipyt^nara or imme- 
diate operation, were the actings of his distinct natures ; some 
of the divine, and some of the human immediately. But as to 
their a7toti7.iBiJ.ata, and the perfecting efficacy of them, they were 
the acts of his whole person : his acts who was that person, 
and whose power of operation was a property of his person. 
Wherefore the obedience of Christ which we plead to have 
been for us, was the obedience of the Son of God ; but the Son 
of God was never absolutely made vno vo^ov " under the law," 
nor could be formally obliged thereby. He was indeed, as the 
Apostle witnesses, made so in his human nature, wherein he 
performed this obedience, "made of a woman, made under the 
law," Gal. iv. 4. He was so far " made under the law," as he 
was made of a woman. For in his person he abode " Lord of 
the Sabbath," Mark ii. 28, and therefore of the whole law. 
But the obedience itself was the obedience of that person, who 
never was, nor ever could absolutely be, made under the law, 
in his whole person. For the divine nature cannot be subjected 
to an outward work of its own, such as the law is ; nor can it 
have an authoritative commanding power over it, as it must 
have, if it were made " under the law." Thus the Apostle 
argues, that Levi paid tithes in Abraham, because he was then 
in his loins, when Abraham himself paid tithes to Melchisedec, 
Heb. vii. And thence he proves, that he was inferior to the Lord 
Christ, of whom Melchisedec was a type. But may it not 
thereon be replied, that then no less the Lord Christ was in the 
loins of Abraham than Levi ? "for verily," as the same Apostle 
speaks, " he took on him the seed of Abraham." It is true, 
therefore, that he was so in respect of his human nature ; but 
as he was typified and represented by Melchisedec in his whole 
person, " without father, without mother, without genealogy, 
without beginning of days or end of hfe:" so he was not abso- 
lutely in Abraham's loins, and was exempted from being tithed 
in hun. Wlierefore the obedience whereof we treat, beuig not 


the obedience of the human nature abstractedly, however per 
formed in and by the human nature, but the obedience of the 
person of the Son of God, however the human nature was sub- 
ject to the law, (in what sense, and to what ends shall be de- 
clared afterwards) it was not for himself, nor could be for him- 
self, because his whole person was not obliged thereto. It is 
therefore a vain thing to compare the obedience of Christ, with 
that of any other man, whose whole person is under the law. 
For although that may not be for himself and others, (which 
yet we shall show that in some cases it may,) yet this may. 
yea must be for others, and not for himself. This then we 
must strictly hold to. If the obedience that Christ yielded to 
the law were for himself, whereas it was the act of his person, 
his whole person, and the divine nature therein, were made 
under the law, which cannot be. For although it is acknow- 
ledged, that in the ordination of God, his exinanition was to 
precede his glorious majestic exaltation, as the Scripture wit- 
nesses, Phil. ii. 9 ; Luke xxiv. 26 ; Rom. xiv. 9 ; yet absolutely 
his glory was an immediate consequence of the hypostatical 
union, Heb. i. 6 ; Matt. ii. 11. 

Socinus, I confess, evades the force of this argument, by 
denying the divine person of Christ. But in this disputation 
I take that for granted, as having proved it elsewhere, beyond 
Mdiat any of his followers are able to contradict. And if we 
may not build on truths by him denied, we shall scarce have 
any one principle of evangelical truth left us to prove any 
thing from. However, I aim at those only at present, who 
concur with him in the matter under debate, but renounce his 
opinion concerning the person of Christ. 

2. As our Lord Jesus Christ owed not in his own person 
this obedience for himself, by virtue of any authority or power 
that the law had over him, so he designed and intended it not 
for himself, but for us. This added to the former considera- 
tion, gives full evidence to the truth pleaded for ; for if he was 
not obliged to it for himself, his person that yielded it, not 
being under the law ; and if he intended it not for himself, 
then it must be for us, or be useless : it was in our human nature, 
that he performed all this obedience. Now the susception of 
our nature, was a voluntary act of his own, with reference to 
some end and purpose ; and that which was the end of the 
assumption of our nature, was in like manner the end of all 
that he did therein. Now it was for us, and not for himself, 
that he assumed our nature j nor was any thing added to him 


thereby : wherefore in the issue of his work, he proposes this 
only to himself, that he may " be glorified with that glory 
which he had with the Father, before the world was," by the 
removal of that veil which was put upon it in liis exinanition. 
But that it was for us that he assumed our nature, is the foun- 
dation of the Christian religion ; as it is asserted by the Apostle, 
Heb. ii. 14 ; Phil. h. 5— S. 

Some of the ancient schoolmen disputed, that the Son of 
God should have been incarnate, although man had not sinned 
and fallen. The same opinion was fiercely pursued by Osian- 
der, as I have elsewhere declared ; but none of them once 
imagined, that he should have been so made man, as to be 
made under the law, and be obliged thereby to that obedience 
which now he has performed : but tliey judged that imme- 
diately he was to have been a glorious head to the whole crea- 
tion. For it is a common notion and presumption of all Chris- 
tians, but only such as will sacrifice such notions to their owu 
private conceptions, that the obedience which Christ yielded 
to the law on earth, in the state and condition wherein he 
yielded it, was not for himself, but for the church, which was 
obliged to perfect obedience, but was not able to accomplish it. 
That this was his sole end and design in it, is a fundamental 
article, if I mistake not, of the creed of most Christians in the 
world ; and to deny it consequently overthrows all the grace 
and love both of the Father and Son, in his mediation. 

It is said, " that this obedience was necessary as a qualifi- 
cation of his person, that he might be meet to be a mediator 
for us, and therefore was for himself; it belongs to the neces- 
sary constitution of his person, with respect to his mediatory 
work :" but this I positively deny. The Lord Christ was every 
way meet for the whole work of mediation, by the ineffable 
union of the human nature with the divine which exalted it 
in dignity, honour and worth, above any thing, or ail things 
that ensued thereon. For hereby he became in his whole per- 
son the object of all divine worship and honour ; " for when 
he brings the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all 
the angels of God worship him." Again that which is an 
effect of the person of the mediator as constituted such, is not a 
qualification necessary to its constitution; that is, what he did 
as mediator, did not concur to the making of him meet so to be. 
But of this nature was all the obedience which he yielded to 
the law, for as such, " it became him to fulfil ail righteous- 



Whereas therefore he was neither made man, nor of the pos- 
terity of Abraham for himself, but for the church, namely, to be- 
come thereby the surety of the covenant, and representative of 
the whole, his obedience as a man to the law in general, and as 
a son of Abraham to the law of Moses, was for us, and not for 
himself; so designed, so performed, and without a respect to 
the church, was of no use to himself He was born to us, and 
given to us, lived for us, and died for us, obeyed for us, and 
suffered for us ; that by the obedience of one, many might be 
made righteous. This was the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; 
and this is the faith of the Catholic church. And what he did 
for us, is imputed to us. This is included in the very notion of 
his doing it for us, which caimot be spoken in any sense, un- 
less that which he so did, be imputed to us. And I think men 
ought to be wary, that they do not by distinctions and studied 
evasions, for the defence of their own private opinions, shake 
the foundations of Christianity. And I am sure it will be easier 
for them, as it is in the proverb, " to wrest the club out of the 
hand of Hercules," than to dispossess the minds of true belie- 
vers of this persuasion; that what the Lord Christ did in obe- 
dience to God according to the law, he designed in his love and 
grace to do it for them. He needed no obedience for himself, 
he came not into a capacity of yielding obedience for himself, 
but for us; and therefore for us it was, that he fulfilled the law 
in obedience to God according to the terms of it. The obliga- 
tion that was on him to obedience, was originally no less for 
us, no less needful to us, no more for himself, no more neces- 
sary to him, than the obligation that was on him as the surety 
of the covenant, to suffer the penalty of the law, was either 
the one, or the other. 

3. Setting aside the consideration of the grace and love of 
Christ, and the compact between the Father and the Son, as to 
his undertaking for us, which undeniably proves all that he did 
in the pursuit of them to be done for us, and not for himself; 
the human nature of Christ, by virtue of its union with the 
person of the Son of God, had a right to, and might have imme- 
diately been admitted into, the highest glory whereof it was 
capable, without any antecedent obedience to the law. And this 
is apparent from hence, in that from the first instant of that 
union, the whole person of Christ with our nature existing 
therein, was the object of all divine worship from angels and 
men, wherein consists the highest exaltation of that nature. 

It is true, there was a peculiar glory that he was actually to 


te made partaker of, with respect to his antecedent obedience 
and suffering, Phil. ii. 8, 9. The actual possession of tliis glory- 
was, in the ordination of God, to be consequent to his obeying 
and suffering, not for himself, but for us. But as to the right 
and capacity of the human nature in itself, all the glory whereof 
it was capable, was due to it from the instant of its union. For 
it was therein exalted above the condition that any creature is 
capable of by mere creation. And it is but a Socinian fiction, that 
the first foundation of the divine glory of Christ was laid in his 
obedience, which was only the way of his actual possession of 
that part of his glory, which consists in his mediatory power 
and authority over all. The real foundation of the whole, was 
laid in the union of his person ; whence he prays that the Father 
would glorify him, (as to manifestation) with that glory which 
he had with him before the world was. 

I will grant, that the Lord Christ was viator whilst he was 
in this world, and not absolutely possessor; yet I say withal he 
was so, not that any such condition was necessary to him for 
himself; but he took it upon him by especial dispensation for 
us. And therefore the obedience he performed in that condi- 
tion, was for us, and not for himself. 

4. It is granted therefore, that the human nature of Christ 
was made vho vofiov, as the Apostle affirms, that which was 
made of a woman, was made under the law. Hereby obe- 
dience became necessary to him, as he was and whilst he was 
viator. But this being by especial dispensation, intimated in the 
expression of it, he made was under the law, namely, as he was 
made of a woman, by especial dispensation and condescension 
expressed, Phil. ii. 6 — 8 ; the obedience he yielded thereon, 
was for us, and not for himself And this is evident from hence, 
for he was so made under the law, as that not only he owed 
obedience to the precepts of it, but he was made obnoxious to 
its curse. But I suppose it will not be said, that he was so for 
himself, and therefore not for us. We owed obedience to the 
law, and were obnoxious to the curse of it, or iftoSixoi, tu ©sw. 
Obedience was required of us, and was as necessary to us, if 
we would enter into life, as the answering of the curse for us 
was, if we would escape death eternal. Christ as our surety, 
is made under the law for us, whereby he becomes liable and 
obliged to the obedience which the law required, and to the 
penalty that it threatened. Who shall now dare to say. that 
he underwent the penalty of the law for us indeed, but he 
yielded obedience to it for himself only ? The whole harmony 


of the work of his mediation, would be disordered by such a 

Judah, the son of Jacob, undertook to be a bondman instead 
of Benjamin his brother, that he might go free, Gen. xhv. 33. 
There is no doubt but Joseph might iiave accepted of the stipu- 
lation. Had he done so, the service and bondage he undertook, 
had been necessary to Judah, and righteous for iiim to bear ; 
howbeit he had undergone it, and performed his duty in it, not 
for himself, but for his brother Benjamin ; and to Benjamin it 
would have been imputed in his liberty. So when the Apostle 
Paul wrote those words to Philemon concerning Onesimus, 
verse 18, " If he hath wronged thee," dealt unrighteously or 
injuriously with thee, " or oweth thee aught," wherein thou 
hast suffered loss by him, " put it on my account," or impute 
it all to me ; " I will repay it," or answer for it all. He sup- 
poses that Philemon might have a double action against Onesi- 
mus; the one injuriarum, 3.nd the other dajnni ox debiti, of 
wrong and injury, and of loss or debt ; which are distinct ac- 
tions in the law: if he has wronged thee, or oweth thee aught. 
Hereon he proposes himself, and obliges himself by his express 
obligation, " I Paul have written it with my own hand," that 
he would answer for both, and pay back a valuable considera- 
tion if required. Hereby was he obliged in his own person to 
make satisfaction to Philemon ; but yet he was to do it for 
Onesimus, and not for himself. Whatever obedience therefore 
was due from the Lord Christ, as to his human nature whilst 
in the " form of a servant," either as a man, or as an Israelite, 
seeing he was so not necessarily by the necessity of nature for 
himself, but by voluntary condescension and stipulation for us, 
for us it was, and not for himself. 

5. The Lord Christ in his obedience was not a private, but 
a public person. He obeyed as he was the surety of the cove- 
nant, as the mediator between God and man. This I suppose 
will not be denied. He can by no imagination be considered 
out of that capacity. But what a public person does as a public 
person, that is as a representative of others, and an under- 
taker for them, whatever may be his own concernment therein, 
he does it not for himself, but for others. And if others were 
not concerned therein, if it were not for them, what he does 
would be of no use or signification. Yea, it implies a contra- 
diction that any one should do any thing as a public person, 
and do it for himself only. He who is a public person, may 
do that wherein he alone is concerned, but he cannot do so as 


he is a public person. Wherefore as Sociniis, and tliose tliat 
follow him would have Christ to have offered for himself, 
Avhich is to make him a mediator for himself, his offering being 
a mediatory act, which is both foolish and impious ; so to affirm 
his mediatory obedience, his obedience as a public person, to 
liave been for himself, and not for others, has but little less of 
impiety in it. 

6. It is granted, that the Lord Christ having a human na- 
ture, which was a creature, it was impossible but that it should 
be subject to the law of creation. For there is a relation that 
necessarily arises from, and depends upon the beings of a crea- 
tor and a creature. Every rational creature is eternally obliged 
from the nature of God, and its relation thereto, to love him, 
obey him, depend upon him, submit to him, and to make him 
its end, blessedness, and reward. But the law of creation thus 
considered, does not respect the world, and this life ojily, but 
the future state of heaven, and eternity also. And this law, 
the human nature of Christ is subject to, in heaven and glory, 
and cannot but be so, whilst it is a creature, and not God, that 
is, whilst it has its own being. Nor do any men fancy sucli 
a transfusion of divine properties into the human nature of 
Christ, as that it should be self-subsisting, and in itself, abso- 
lutely immense ; for this would openly destroy it. Yet none 
will say, that he is now "under the law," in the sense intended 
by the Apostle. But the law in the sense described, the hu- 
man nature of Christ was subject to, on its own account, whilst 
he was in this world. And this is sufficient to answer the ob- 
jection of Socinus, mentioned at the entrance of this discourse, 
namely, "that if the Lord Christ were not obliged to obedi- 
ence for himself, then might he, if he would, neglect the whole 
law, or infringe it." For besides that it is a foolish imagina- 
tion concerning that holy thing which was hypostatically 
united to the Son of God, and thereby rendered incapable of 
any deviation from the divine will ; the eternal indispensable 
law of love, adherence, and dependence on God, under which 
the human nature of Christ was, and is, as a creature, gives 
sufficient security against such suppositions. 

But there is another consideration of the law of God, namely, 
as it is imposed on creatures by especial dispensation, for 
some time, and for some certain end ; with some considera 
tions, rules, and orders, that belong not essentially to the law, 
as before described. This is the nature of the written law of 
God, which the Lord Christ was made under, not necessarily 



as a creature, but by especial dispensation. For the law, 
under this consideration, is presented to us as such, not abso- 
lutely and eternally, but whilst we are in this world, and that 
with this especial end, that by obedience thereto, we may ob- 
tain the reward of eternal life. And it is evident, that the ob- 
ligation of the law, under this consideration, ceases when we 
come to the enjoyment of that reward. It obliges us no more 
formally by its command, " Do this and live," when the life 
promised is enjoyed. In this sense the Lord Christ was not 
made subject to the law for himself, nor did yield obedience to 
it for himself. For he was not obliged to it by virtue of his 
created condition. Upon the first instant of the union of his 
natures, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from 
sinners, he might, notwithstanding the law that he was made 
subject to, have been stated in glory. For he that was the ob- 
ject of all divine worship, needed not any new obedience to 
procure for him a state of blessedness. And had he naturally, 
merely by virtue of his being a creature, been subject to the 
law in this sense, he must have been so eternally, which he is 
not. For those things which depend solely on the natures of 
God and the creature, are eternal and immutable. Wherefore, 
as the law in this sense was given to us, not absolutely, but 
with respect to a future state and reward ; so the Lord Christ 
voluntarily subjected himself to it for us, and his obedience 
thereto was for us, and not for himself. These things added to 
what I have formerly written on this subject, whereto nothing 
has been opposed, but a few impertinent cavils, are sutficient 
to discharge the first part of that charge laid down before, con- 
cerning the impossibility of the imputation of the obedience of 
Christ to us ; which indeed is equal to the impossibility of tlie 
imputation of the disobedience of Adam to us ; whereby the 
Apostle tells us, that we were made sinners. 

The second part of the objection or charge against the impu- 
tation of the obedience of Christ to us, is, " That it is useless to 
the persons that are to be justified. For whereas they have 
in their justification the pardon of all their sins, they are thereby 
righteous, and have a right or title to life and blessedness: for 
he who is so pardoned, as not to be esteemed guilty of any sin 
of omission or commission, wants nothing that is requisite 
thereto. For he is supposed to have done all that he ought, 
and to have omitted nothing required of him in a way of duty 
Hereby he becomes not unrighteous, and to be not unrighteous, 
is the same as to be righteous. As he that is not dead, is alive. 


Neither is there, nor can there be any middle state between 
death and Hfe. Wherefore those who have all their sins for- 
given, have the blessedness of justification ; and there is neither 
need, nor use of any further imputation of righteousness to 
them." And sundry other things of the same nature, are urged 
to the same purpose, which Avill be all of them either obviated 
in the ensuing discourse, or answered elsewhere. 

Answer. This cause is of more importance, and more evi- 
dently stated in the Scriptures, than to be turned into such 
niceties, which have more of philosophical subtilty, than theo- 
logical solidity, in them. This exception therefore might be 
dismissed without further answer, than what is given ns in 
the known rule. That a truth well established and confirmed, 
is not to be questioned, much less relinquished on every en- 
tangling sophism, though it should appear insoluble. But as 
we shall see, there is no such difficulty in these arguings, but 
what may easily be discussed. And because the matter of the 
plea contained in them, is made use of by sundry learned per- 
sons who yet agree with us in the substance of the doctrine of 
justification, namely, that it is by faith alone, without works, 
through the imputation of the merit and satisfaction of Christ, 
I shall, as briefly as I can, discover the mistakes that it pro- 
ceeds upon. 

1. It includes a supposition, that he who is pardoned his sins 
of omission and commission, is esteemed to have done all that 
is required of him, and to liave committed nothing that is for- 
bidden. For without this supposition, the bare pardon of sin 
will neither make, constitute, nor denominate any man right- 
eous. But this is far otherwise, nor is any such thing included 
hi the nature of pardon. For in the pardon of sin, neither God 
nor man judges, that he who has sinned, has not sinned ; 
which must be done, if he who is pardoned be esteemed to 
have done all that he ought, and to have done nothing that he 
ought not to do. If a man be brought on his trial for any evil 
fact, and being legally convicted thereof, be discharged by 
sovereign pardon ; it is true, that in the eye of the law, he is 
looked upon as an iimocent man, as to the punishment that 
was due to him ; but no man thinks that he is made righteous 
thereby, or is esteemed not to have done that which really he 
has done, and whereof he was convicted. Joab and Abiathar 
the priest, were at the same time guilty of the same crime. 
Solomon gives order that Joab be put to death for his crime ; 
but to Abiathar he gives a pardon. Did he thereby make. 


declare or constitute him righteous ? He himself expresses 
the contrary, atiirming him to be unrighteous and guihy, only 
he remitted the punishment of his fault, 1 Kings ii. 26. Where- 
fore the pardon of sin discharges the guilty person from being 
liable or obnoxious to anger, wrath, or punishment, due to his 
sin ; but it does not suppose, nor infer in the least, that he is 
thereby or ought thereon to be esteemed or adjudged to have 
done no evil, and to have fulfilled all righteousness. Some say, 
pardon gives a rigliteousness of innocency, but not of obe- 
dience. But it cannot give a righteousness of innocency, ab- 
solutely, such as Adam had. For he had actually done no evil. 
It only removes guilt, which is the respect of sin to punish- 
ment, ensuing on the sanction of the law. And this supposi- 
tion, which is an evident mistake, animates this whole objec- 

The like may be said of what is in like manner supposed, 
namely, that not to be unrighteous, which a man is on the 
pardon of sin, is the same with being righteous. For if not 
to be unrighteous be taken privatively, it is the same with 
being just or righteous; for it supposes that he who is so, has 
done all the duty that is required of him, that he may be 
righteous. But not to be unrighteous, negatively, as the ex- 
pression is here used, does not do so. For at best it supposes 
no more, but that a man as yet has done nothing actually 
against the rule of righteousness. Now this may be when 
yet he has performed none of the duties that are required of 
him to constitute him righteous, because the times and occa- 
sions of them are not yet. And so it was with Adam in the 
state of innocency ; which is the height of what can be attained 
by the complete pardon of sin. 

2. It proceeds on this supposition, that the law, in case of 
sin, does not oblige to punishment and obedience both; so that 
it is not satisfied, fulfilled, or complied with, unless it be answered 
with respect to both. For if it does so, then the pardon of sin, 
which only frees us from the penalty of the law, yet leaves it 
necessary, that obedience be performed to it, even all that it 
requires. But this, in my judgment, is an evident mistake, and 
that such as does not establish the law, but make it void. And 
this I shall demonstrate. 

1 The law has two parts or powers. (1) Its preceptive part, 
commanding and requiring obedience, with a promise of life 
annexed; " Do this and live." (2) The sanction on supposi- 
tion of disobedience, binding the sinner to punishment, or a 


meet recompense of reward. " In the day thou sinnest, thou 
shalt die." And every law properly so called, proceeds on 
these suppositions of obedience or disobedience, whence its 
commanding and punishing power is inseparable from its 

2. This law, whereof we speak, was first given to man in 
innocency; and therefore the first power of it, was only in act. 
It obliged only to obedience. For an innocent person could 
not be obnoxious to its sanction, which contained only an obli- 
gation to punishment, on supposition of disobedience. It could 
not therefore oblige our first parents to obedience and punish- 
ment both, seeing its obligation to punishment could not be in 
actual force, but on supposition of actual disobedience. A moral 
cause of, and motive to obedience it was, and had an influence 
upon the preservation of man from sin. To that end it was 
said to him, " In the day thou eatest, thou shalt surely die." 
The neglect hereof, and of that ruling influence which it ought 
to have had on the minds of our first parents, opened the door 
to the entrance of sin. But it implies a contradiction, that an 
innocent person should be under an actual obligation to punish- 
ment from the sanction of the law. It bound only to obe- 
dience, as all laws with penalties do, before their transgression. 

3. On the committing of sin, (and it is so with every one that 
is guilty of sin,) man came under an actual obligation to punish- 
ment. This is no more cpiestionable than whether at first he 
was under an obligation to obedience. But then the question 
is, whether the first intention and obligation of the law to obe- 
dience ceases to affect th« sinner, or continues so, as at the 
same time to oblige him to obedience and punishment, both its 
powers being in act towards him. And hereto I say, 

1. Had the punishment threatened, been immediately inflict- 
ed to the utmost of what was contained in it, this could have 
been no question. For man had died immediately both tem- 
porally and eternally, and been cast out of that state wherein 
alone he could stand in any relation to the preceptive power of 
the law. He that is finally executed, has fulfilled the law so, 
that he owes no more obedience to it. But 

2. God, in his wisdom and patience, has otherwise disposed 
of things. Man is continued a viator still in the way to his 
end, and not fully stated in his eternal and unchangeable con- 
dition, wherein neither promise nor threatening, reward nor 
punislmient could be proposed to him. In this condition he 


falls under a twofold consideration. (1) Of a guilty person, and 
so is obliged to the full punishment, that the law threatens. 
This is not denied. (2) Of a man, a rational creature of God, 
not yet brought to his eternal end. 

3. In this state, the law is the only instrument and means of 
the continuance of the relation between God and him. Where- 
fore under this consideration it cannot but still oblige him to 
obedience, unless we shall say, that by his sin he has exempted 
himself from the government of God. Wherefore it is by the 
law, that the rule and government of God over men, is con- 
tinued whilst they are m statu viatoru?n: for every disobedience, 
every transgression of its rule and order as to its commanding 
power casts us afresh, and further, under its power of obliging 
to punishment. 

Neither can these things be otherwise ; nor can any man 
living, not the worst of men, choose but judge himself, whilst he 
is in this world, obliged to give obedience to the law of God, 
according to the notices that he has of it by the light of nature 
or otherwise. A wicked servant that is punished for his fault, 
if it be with such a punishment as yet continues his being, and 
his state of servitude, is not by his punishment freed from an 
obligation to duty, according to the rule of it. Yea, his obliga- 
tion to duty, with respect to that crime for which he was pun- 
ished, is not dissolved, until his punishment be capital, and so 
put an end to his state. Wherefore seeing that by the pardon 
of sin, we are freed only from the obligation to punishment, 
there is moreover required to our justification, an obedience to 
what the law requires. 

And this greatly strengthens the argument, in whose vindi- 
cation we are engaged ; for we, being sinners, were obnoxious 
both to the command and curse of the law. Both must be 
answered, or we cannot be justified. And as the Lord Christ 
could not, by his most perfect obedience, satisfy the curse of 
the law, " Dying thou shall die ;" so by tlie utmost of his suffer- 
ing, he could not fulfil the command of the law, " Do this and 
live." Passion as passion is not obedience, though there may 
be obedience in suffering, as there was in that of Christ to the 
height. Wherefore as we plead that the death of Christ is im- 
puted to us for our justification, so we deny that it is imputed 
to us for our righteousness. For by the imputation of the suf- 
ferings of Christ, our sins are remitted or pardoned, ond we are 
delivered from the curse of the law, which he underwent. But 
we are not thence esteemed just or righteous, which we cannot 


be without respect to the fulfilUng of the commands of the law, 
or the obedience by it required. The wiiole matter is excel- 
lently expressed by Grotius in the words before alleged.* 

3. The objection mentioned proceeds also on this supposi- 
tion, that pardon of sin gives title to eternal blessedness in the 
enjoyment of God : for justification does so, and according to 
the authors of this opinion, no other righteousness is required 
thereto but pardon of sin. That justification gives right and 
title to adoption, acceptance with God, and the heavenly inheri- 
tance, I suppose will not be denied, and it has been proved 
already. Pardon of sin depends solely on the death or suffer- 
ing of Christ : " in whom we have redemption through his 
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his 
grace," Ephes. i. 7. But suffering for punishment gives right 
and title to nothing, only satisfies for something ; nor does it 
deserve any reward : it is no where said, Suffer this and live, 
but, Do this and live. 

These things, I confess, are inseparably connected in the 
ordinance, appointment, and covenant of God. Whosoever 
has his sins pardoned, is accepted with God, has right to eter- 
nal blessedness. These things are inseparable, but they are 
not one and the same. And by reason of their inseparable re- 
lation, are they so put together by the Apostle, Rom. iv. G — 8. 
" Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, to 
whom God imputeth righteousness without works : Blessed 
are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are 
covered : Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not im- 
pute sin." It is the imputation of righteousness, that gives 
right to blessedness ; but pardon of sin is inseparable from it, 
and an effect of it, both being opposed to justification by works, 
or an internal righteousness of our own. But it is one thing 
to be freed from being liable to eternal death ; and another to 
have right and title to a blessed and eternal life. It is one 
thing to be " redeemed from under the law," that is, the curse 
of it ; another to receive the " adoption of sons." One thing 
to be freed from the curse, ar.other to have the blessing of 
Abraham come upon us ; as the Apostle distinguishes these 
things. Gal. iii. 13, 14; iv. 4, 5. And so does our Lord Jesus 
Christ, Acts xxvi. 18. " That they may receive forgiveness of 

* Cum duo nobis peperisse Christum dixerimus impunitatem et praemium, 
illud satisfactioni, hoc merito Christi distincte tribuit vetus ecclesia. Satis- 
factio consistit in meritorum translatione, meritum in perfectissimse obe- 
dientioB pro nobis praestitae imputatione. 


sins, and iiflieritance (a lot and right to the inheritance) among 
them that are sanctified by faitli that is in me." A^eoL^ a^tapnwi' 
which we have by faith in Christ is only a " dismission of sin" 
from being pleadable to our condemnation ; on which account 
" there is no condemnation unto them that are in Christ Jesus." 
But a right and title to glory, or the heavenly inheritance, it 
gives not. Can it be supposed, that all the great and glorious 
effects of present grace and future blessedness, should follow 
necessarily on, and be the effect of mere pardon of sin ? Can 
we not be pardoned, but we must thereby of necessity be made 
sons, heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ ? 

Pardon of sin is in God, with respect to the sinner, a free, 
gratuitous act ; " forgiveness of sin through the riches of his 
grace." But with respect to the satisfaction of Christ, it is an 
act in judgment. For on the consideration thereof as imputed 
to him, God absolves and acquits the sinner upon his trial. 
But pardon on a juridical trial, on what consideration soever 
it be granted, gives no right nor title to any favour, benefit, or 
privilege, but only mere deliverance. It is one thing to be ac- 
quitted before the throne of a king, of crimes laid to the charge 
of any man, which may be done by clemency, or on other con- 
siderations ; another to be made his son by adoption, and heir 
to his kingdom. 

And these things are represented to us in the Scripture, as 
distinct and depending on distinct causes. So are they in the 
vision concerning Joshua the high priest, Zech. iii. 4, 5. "And 
he answered and spake unto those that stood before him say- 
ing. Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him 
he said. Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee; 
and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, 
Let them set a fair mitre upon his head ; so they set a fair 
mitre on his head, and clothed him with garments." It has 
been generally granted, that we have here a representation of 
the justification of a sinner before God. And the taking away 
of filthy garments, is expounded by the passing away of ini- 
quity. When a man's filthy garments are taken away, he is 
no more defiled with them ; but he is not thereby clothed. 
This is an additional grace and favour thereto, namely to be 
clothed with change of garments. And what this raiment is, 
is declared, Isa. Ixi. 10: "He hath clothed me with the gar- 
ments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of right- 
eousness ;" which the Apostle alludes to, Phil. iii. 9. Where- 
fore these things are distinct j namely, the taking away of the 


filthy garments, and the clothing of us with change of raiment; 
or the pardon of sin, and the rohe of righteousness. By the one 
are we freed from condemnation, by the other we have right 
to salvation. And the same is in like manner represented 
Ezek. xvi. 6 — 12. 

This place I had formerly urged to this purpose about com- 
munion with God, which Mr. Hotchkiss in his usual manner 
attempts to answer. And to omit his reviUng expressions, 
with the crude unproved assertion of his own conceits, his 
answer is, that by the change of raiment mentioned in the 
prophet, our own personal righteousness is intended. For he 
acknowledges that our justification before God is here repre- 
sented. And so also he expounds the place produced in the 
confirmation of the exposition given, Isa. Ixi. 10, where this 
change of raiment is called "the garments of salvation and the 
robe of righteousness ;" and thereon affirms^ that our righteous- 
ness itself, before God, is our personal righteousness ; that is, 
in our justification before him, which is the only thing in ques- 
tion. To all which presumptions, I shall oppose only the tes- 
timony of the same prophet, which he may consider at his 
leisure, and which, at one time or other, he will subscribe to. 
Isa. Ixiv. 6. " We are all as an unclean thing, and all our right- 
eousnesses are as filthy rags." He who can make garments 
of salvation and robes of righteousness of these filthy rags, 
has a skill in composing spiritual vestments that I am not ac- 
quainted with. What remains in the chapter wherein this 
answer is given to that testimony of the Scripture, I shall take 
no notice of, it being after his accustomed manner, only a 
perverse wresting of my words to such a sense, as may seem 
to countenance him in casting a reproach upon myself and 

There is therefore no force in the comparing of these things 
to life and death natural, which are immediately opposed ; so 
that he who is not dead is alive, and he who is alive is not 
dead, there being no distinct state between that of life and death. 
For these things being of different natures, the comparison be- 
tween them is no way argumentative. Though it may be so 
in things natural, it is otherwise in things moral and political, 
where a proper representation of justification may be taken, as 
it is forensic. If it were so, that there is no difference between 
been acquitted of a crime at the bar of a judge, and a right to 
a kingdom, nor any different state between these things, it 
would prove, that there is no intermediate estate between being 



pardoned, and having a right to the heavenly inheritance. But 
this is a vain imagination. 

It is true, that right to eternal life succeeds to freedom from 
the guilt of eternal death. " That they may receive forgiveness 
of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified." 
But it does not do so, out of a necessity in the nature of the 
things themselves, but only in the free constitution of God. 
Believers have the pardon of sin, and an immediate right and 
title to the favour of God, the adoption of sons, and eternal 
life. But there is another state in the nature of the things 
themselves, and this might have been so actually, had it so 
seemed good to God ; for who sees not, that there is a status 
or conditio personcB, wherein he is neither under the guilt of 
condemnation, nor has an immediate right and title to glory, in 
the way of inheritance? God might have pardoned men all 
their sins past, and placed them in a state and condition of 
seeking righteousness for the future, by the works of the law, 
that so they might have lived : for this would answer the origi- 
nal state of Adam. But God has not done so ; true ; but whereas 
he might have done so, it is evident that the disposal of men 
into this state and condition of right to life and salvation, does 
not depend on, nor proceed from the pardon of sin, but has 
another cause, which is the imputation of the righteousness of 
Christ to us, as he fulfilled the law for us. 

And in truth, this is the opinion of the most of our adversa- 
ries in this cause : for they contend, that over and above thf 
remission of sin, which some of them say is absolute, without 
any respect to the merit or satisfaction of Christ, while others 
refer it to them, there is moreover, a righteousness of works 
required to our justification ; only they say, this is our own 
incomplete, imperfect righteousness, imputed to us, as if it were 
perfect, that is for what it is not ; and not the righteousness of 
Christ, imputed to us for what it is. 

From what has been discoursed, it is evident that, to our 
justification before God, is required, not only that we be freed 
from the damnatory sentence of the law, which we are by the 
pardon of sin, but moreover, that the righteousness of tlie law 
be fulfilled in us, or, that we have a righteousness answering 
the obedience that the law requires, whereon our acceptancb 
with God, through the riches of his grace, and our title to the 
heavenly inheritance, depend. This we have not in and of our 
selves, nor can attain to, as has been proved. Wherefore the 
perfect obedience and righteousness of Christ is imputed to us 
or in the sight of God W3 can never be justified. 


Nor are the cavilling objections of the Socinians, and those 
that follow them, of any force against the truth herein. They 
tell us, that the righteousness of Christ can be imputed but to 
one, if to any. " For who can suppose that the same righteous- 
ness of one should become the righteousness of many, even of 
all that believe? Besides, he performed not all the duties that 
are required of us in all our relations, he being never placed 
in them." These things, I say, are both foolish and impious, 
destructive to the whole gospel. For all things here depend on 
the ordination of God. It is his ordinance that " as through 
the offence of one many are dead; so his grace, and the gift of 
grace, through one man Christ Jesus, hath abounded unto many ; 
and as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to 
condemnation, so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came 
upon all unto the righteousness of life, and by the obedience of 
one many are made righteous ;" as the Apostle argues, Rom. v. 
" For God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and 
for sin, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in 
us," Rom. viii. 3, 4. For " he was the end of the law (the 
whole end of it) for righteousness unto them that believe," 
Rom, X. 4. This is the appointment of the wisdom, righteous- 
ness and grace of God, that the whole righteousness and obe- 
dience of Christ should be accepted as our complete righteous- 
ness before him, imputed to us by his grace, and applied to us 
or made ours through believing, and consequently to all that 
believe. And if the actual sin of Adam be imputed to us all, 
who derive our nature from him to condemnation, though 
he sinned not in our circumstances and relations, is it strange 
that the actual obedience of Christ should be imputed to them 
who derive a spiritual nature from him, to the justification of 
life ? Besides, both the satisfaction and obedience of Christ, as 
relating to his person, were in some sense infinite, that is, of an 
infinite value, and so cannot be considered in parts, as though 
one part of it were imputed to one, and another to another, but 
the whole is imputed to every one that believes ; and if the 
Israelites could say, that David was worth ten thousand of 
them, 2 Sam. xviii. 3, we may well allow the Lord Christ, and 
so what he did and sufiered, to be more than all of us, and all 
that we can do and suffer. 

There are also sundry other mistakes that concur to that 
part of the charge against the imputation of the righteousness 
of Christ to us, which we have now considered; I say of 
his righteousness; for the Apostle in this case uses those two 


words Sixai^^ua and irtaxo-/-, righteoiisiiess and obedience, as of 
the same signification, Rom. v, IS, 19. Snch are those, that 
remission of sin and justification are the same, or that justifica- 
tion consists only in the remission of sin; that faith itself as our 
act and duty, being the condition of the covenant, is imputed 
to us for righteousness; or that we have a personal inherent 
righteousness of our own, that one way or other is our right- 
eousness before God for justification, either as a condition or a 
disposition to it; or as having a congruity in deserving the 
grace of justification, or a downright merit of condignity there- 
of For all these are but various expressions of the same thing, 
according to the variety of the conceptions of the minds of men 
about it. But they have been all considered and removed in 
our preceding discourses. 

To close this argument and our vindication of it, and there- 
with to obviate an objection, I acknowledge that our blessed- 
ness and life eternal is in the Scripture oft-times ascribed to 
the death of Christ: but it is so (1) as the principal cause of 
the whole, and as that without which no imputation of obe- 
dience could have justified us; for the penalty of the law was 
indispensably to be undergone. (2) It is so, not exclusively 
of all obedience, whereof mention is made in other places, but 
as that whereto it is inseparably conjoined. Chrisfus in vita 
passivam habuit actionem; in morte passionem activam sus- 
tinuit; dum salntem operaretur in medio tcrrce. Bernard. " In 
order to work out salvation for men on earth, Christ led a life 
of passive action, and died a death of active passion." And 
so it is also ascribed to his resurrection, with respect to evi- 
dence and manifestation. But the death of Christ exclusively 
as to his obedience is no where asserted as the cause of eternal 
life, comprising that exceeding weight of glory wherewith it is 

Hitherto we have treated of and vindicated the imputation 
of the active obedience of Christ to us, as the truth of it was 
deduced from the preceding argument about the obligation of 
the law of creation. I shall now briefly confirm it with other 
reasons and testimonies. 

1. That whicli Christ, the mediator and surety of the cove- 
nant, did in obedience to God, in the discharge and pertorni- 
ance of his office, he did for us, and that is imputed to us. This 
has been proved already, and it has too great an evidence of 
truth to be denied. He was " born to us, given to us," Isa. 
ix. 6 " For what the law could not do, in that it was weak 


through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the Hkeness of 
sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh that the 
righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," Rom. viii. 
3, 4. Whatever is spoken of the grace, love and purpose of 
God in sending or giving his Son, or of the love, grace and 
condescension of the Son in coming and undertaking the work 
of redemption designed to him, or of the office itself of a me- 
diator or surety, gives testimony to this assertion. Yea, it is 
the fundamental principle of the gospel, and of the faith of all 
that truly believe. As for those by whom the divine person 
and satisfaction of Christ are denied, whereby they overturn 
the whole work of his mediation, we do not at present con- 
sider them. Wherefore what he so did, is to be inquired into. 

1. The Lord Christ our mediator and surety was in his 
human nature "made under the law," Gal. iv. 1. That he was 
not so for himself by the necessity of his condition, we have 
proved before. It was therefore /or us. But as made "under 
the law," he yielded obedience to it; this therefore was for us, 
and is imputed to us. The exception of the Socinians that it 
is the judicial law only that is intended, is too frivolous to be 
insisted on. For he was made under that law whose curse 
we are delivered from. And if we are delivered only from 
the curse of the law of Moses, wherein they contend that there 
were neither promises nor threatening of eternal things, of any 
thing beyond this present life, we are still in our sins, under 
the curse of the moral law, notwithstanding all that he has 
done for us. It is excepted with more colour of sobriety, that 
he was made under the law only as to the curse of it. But it 
is plain in the text, that Christ was made under the law as 
we are under it. He was " made under the law to redeem 
them that were under the law." And if he was not made so 
as we are, there is no consequence from his being made under 
it, to our redemption from it. But we are so under the law, 
as not only to be obnoxious to the curse, but so as to be obliged 
to all the obedience that it required, as has been proved. And 
if the Lord Christ has redeemed us only from the curse of it by 
uiidergohig it, leaving us in ourselves to answer its obligation 
to obedience, we are not freed nor delivered. And the expres- 
sion of "under the law," in the first place and properly, signi- 
fies being under the obligation of it to obedience, and conse- 
quently only with respect to the curse. Gal. iv. 21. " Tell me, 
ye that desire to be under the law." They did not desire to 



be under the curse of the law, but only its obligation to obe- 
dience; which, in all usage of speech, is the first proper sense 
of that expression. Wherefore the Lord Christ being made 
under the law for us, he yielded perfect obedience to it for us, 
which is therefore imputed to us. For that what he did, was 
done for us, depends solely on imputation. 

2. As he was thus made under the law, so he actually ful- 
filled it by his obedience to it. So he testifies concerning him- 
self; "Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the 
prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil," Matt. v. 17. 
These words of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded by the 
Evangelist, the Jews continually object against the Christians, 
as contradictory to what they pretend to be done by him, 
namely, that he has destroyed and taken away the law. And 
Maimonides in his treatise De Fimdamentis Legis, has many 
blasphemous reflections on the Lord Christ as a false prophet 
in this matter. But the reconciliation is plain and easy. There 
was a twofold laM'- given to the church, the moral and the cere- 
monial law. The first as we have proved is of eternal obligation. 
The other was given only for a time. That the latter of these 
was to be taken away and abolished, the apostle proves with 
invincible testimonies, out of the Old Testament against the 
obstinate Jews, in his Epistle to the Hebre\vs. Yet was it not 
to be taken away without its accomplishment, when it ceased 
of itself. Wherefore our Lord Christ did no otherwise dissolve 
or destroy that law, but by the accomplishment of it; and so 
he put an end to it, as is fully declared, Ephes. ii. 14 — 16. 
But the law xar' H'^xn^', that which obliges all men to obe- 
dience to God always, he came not xara-Kv^ai, " to destroy ;" 
that is a9fr);gat, to abolish it, as an d9fr»;rrtj is ascribed to the 
Mosaical law, Heb. ix.,* or xa.ta^yr^na.i, which the apostle denies 
to be done by Christ, and faith in him, Rom. iii. 31. "Do 
we then make void xarapyov^fi- the law through faith ? God 
forbid; yea, we establish the law." Xo^ot- listavai is to confirm 
its obligation to obedience, which is done by faith only with 
respect to the moral law, the other being evacuated as to any 
power of obliging to obedience. This therefore is the law which 
our Lord Christ affirms that he came not to destroy; so he ex- 
pressly declares in his ensuing discourse, showing both its 
power of obliging us always to obedience, and giving an ex- 

* In the same sense is the word used, Matt. xxiv. 2; xxvi. 6; xxvii. 40. 
Mark xiii. 2 ; xiv. 58 ; xv. 29. Luke xxi. 6. Acts v. 38, 39 ; vi. 14. Rom xiv. 
20. 2 Cor. V. I. Gal. ii. 18, mostly with an accusative case, of the things 
spoken of. 


position of it. This law the Lord Christ came " to fulfil." 
nxT;pu>aa,t. tov i/o;uo;', in the Scripture is the same with £>rt?.j;aai. 
Tov vonov in other writers ; that is, to yield full perfect obedience 
to the commands of the law, whereby they are absolutely ful- 
filled; rtxij^iusat, vonov, is not to make the law perfect; for it was 
always voij,oi nxnoi, a "perfect law," James i. 25, but to yield 
perfect obedience to it; the same that our Saviour calls rtXj/pwaai. 
Tianav hixaioavvriv, Matt. iii. 3, 15, " to fulfil all righteousness ;" 
that is, by obedience to all God's commands and institutions, 
as is evident in the place. So the apostle uses the same ex- 
pression, Rom. xiii. 8, " he that loveth another hath fulfilled 
the law." 

It is a vain exception that Christ fulfilled the law by his doc- 
trine, in the exposition of it. The opposition between the words 
io fulfil and to destroy, will admit of no such sense. And our 
Saviour himself expounds this fulfilling of the law, by doing 
the commands of it, v. 19. Wherefore the Lord Christ, as our 
mediator and surety, fulfilling the law by yielding perfect obe- 
dience thereto, did it for us, and to us it is imputed. 

This is plainly affirmed by the Apostle, Rom. v. 18, 19. 
" Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all 
men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the 
free gift came upon all men to justification of life. For as by 
the disobedience of one many were made sinners, so by the obe- 
dience of one shall many be made righteous." The full plea 
from and vindication of this testimony, I refer to its proper 
place in the testimonies given to the imputation of the righteous- 
ness of Christ to our justification in general. Here I shall only 
observe that the Apostle expressly and in terms affirms that by 
the obedience of Christ, we are made righteous or justified, 
which we cannot be but by the imputation of it to us. I have 
met with nothing that had the appearance of any sobriety for 
♦the eluding of this express testimony, but only, that by the 
obedience of Christ, his death and sufferings are intended, 
Avherein he was obedient to God; as the Apostle says, he was 
"obedient unto death; the death of the cross," Phil. ii. 8. But 
yet there is herein no colour of probability. For, (1) It is ac- 
knowledged that there was such a near conjunction and alli- 
ance between the obedience of Christ, and his sufferings, that 
though they may be distinguished, yet can they not be sepa- 
rated. He suffered in the whole course of his obedience, from 
the womb to the cross; and he obeyed in all his sufferings 
to the last moment wherein he expired. But yet are they really 


things distinct, as we have proved ; and they were so in him, 
who " learned obedience by the things that he suffered," Heb. 
V. 8. (2) In this place inaxo^, obedience, ver. 19; and Sizaiw^a, 
righteousness, ver. 18, are the same. " By the righteousness of 
one," and "by the obedience of one," are the same. But suffer- 
ing, as suffering, is not righteousness. For if it were, then every 
one that sutlers what is due to him, should be righteous, and 
so be justified, even the devil himself. (3) The righteousness 
and obedience here intended, are opposed to " the offence," but 
the offence intended was an actual transgression of the law ; so 
is HapaTtioifia, a fall from, or a fall in, the course of obedience. 
Wherefore the 6tzatco,ua or righteousness must be an actual obe- 
dience to the commands of the law, or the force of tlie Apostle's 
reasoning and antithesis cannot be understood. (4) Particularly 
it is such an obedience as is opposed to the disobedience of 
Adam. " One man's disobedience," " one man's obedience." 
But the disobedience of Adam was an actual transgression of 
the law; and therefore the obedience of Christ here intended, 
was his active obedience to the law; which is what we plead 
for. And I shall not at present further pursue the argument, 
because the force of it in the confirmation of the truth contend- 
ed for, will be included in those that follow. 



That which we plead in the third place to our purpose, is the' 
difference between the two covenants. And herein it may be 

1. That by the two covenants I understand those which 
were absolutely given to the whole church, and were all to 
bring it to a complete and perfect state; that is the covenant 
of works, or the law of our creation as it was given to us, with 
promises and threatenings, or rewards and punishments an- 
nexed to it: and the covenant of grace revealed and proposed 
in the first promise. As to the covenant of Sinai, and the new 
testament as actually confirmed in the death of Christ, with 


Jill the spiritual privileges thence arising, and the differences 
between them, they belong not to our present argument. 

2. The whole entire nature of the covenant of works con- 
sisted in this; that upon our personal obedience, according to 
the law and rule of it, we should he accepted with God, and 
rewarded by him. Herein the essence of it consisted. And 
whatever covenant proceeds on these terms, or has the nature 
of them in it, however it may be varied, with additions or 
alterations, it is the same covenant still, and not another. As 
in the renovation of the promise wherein the essence of the 
covenant of grace was contained, God did ofttimes make other 
additions to it, as to Abraham and David ; yet was it still the 
same covenant for the substance of it, and not another; so 
whatever variations may be made in, or additions to the dis- 
pensation of the first covenant, so long as this rule is retained, 
" Do this and live," it is still the same covenant, for the sub- 
stance and essence of it. 

3. Hence two things belonged to this covenant. (1) That 
all things were transacted immediately between God and man. 
There was no mediator in it, no one to undertake any thing, 
either on the part of God or man, between them. For tlie 
whole depending on everyone's personal obedience, there was 
no place for a mediator. (2) That nothing but perfect sinless 
obedience would be accepted with God, or preserve the cove- 
nant in its primitive state and condition. There was nothing 
in it as to pardon of sin, no provision for any defect in personal 

4. Wherefore thi^ covenant being once established between 
God and man, there could be no new covenant made unless 
the essential form of it were of another nature ; namely, that 
our own personal obedience be not the rule and cause of our 
acceptance and justification before God. For whilst this is so, 
as was before observed, the covenant is still the same; how- 
ever the dispensation of it may be reformed or reduced, to suit 
our present state and condition. What grace soever might be 
introduced into it, that could not be so, which excluded all 
works from being the cause of our justification. But if a new 
covenant be made, such grace must be provided as is abso- 
lutely inconsistent with any works of ours, as to the first ends 
of the covenant, as the Apostle declares, Rom. xi. 6. 

5. Wherefore the covenant of grace, supposing it a new, 
real, absolute covenant, and not a reformation of the dispen- 
tion of the old, or a reduction of it to the use of our present 


condition (as some imagine it to be) must differ in tlie essence, 
substance, and nature of it from that first covenant of worlcs. 
And this it cannot do, if we are to be justified before God on 
our personal obedience, wherein the essence of the first cove- 
nant consisted. If then the righteousness wherewith we are 
justified before God, be our own, our own personal righteous- 
ness; we are yet under the first covenant, and no other. 

6. But things in the new covenant are indeed quite other- 
wise. For (1) it is of grace, which wholly excludes works; 
that is, so of grace, that our own works are not the means of 
justification before God; as in the places before alleged. (2) It 
has a mediator and surety, which is built alone on this suppo- 
sition, that what we cannot do in ourselves which was origi- 
nally required of us, and what the law of the first covenant 
cannot enable us to perform, that should be performed for us, 
by our mediator and surety. And if this be not included in 
the very first notion of a mediator and surety, yet it is in that 
of a mediator or surety who voluntarily interposes himself upon 
an open acknowledgment, that those for whom he undertakes, 
were utterly insufficient to perform what was required of them; 
on which supposition all the truth of the Scripture depends. 
It is one of the very first notions of Christianity, that the Lord 
Christ was " given to us," "born to us," that he came as a 
" mediator," to do for us what we could not do for ourselves, 
and not merely to suflfer what we had deserved. And here 
instead of our own righteousness, we have the righteousness 
of God ; instead of being righteous in ourselves before God, he 
is " the Lord our righteousness." And nothing but a right- 
eousness of another kind and nature, to justification before 
God, could constitute another covenant. Wherefore the right- 
eousness whereby we are justified, is the righteousness of 
Christ imputed to us, or we are still under the law, under the 
covenant of works. 

It will be said that our personal obedience is by none assert- 
ed to be the righteousness wherewith we are justified before 
God, in the same manner as it was under the covenant of 
works. But the argument speaks not as to the manner or 
way whereby it is so; but to the thing itself If it be so in 
any way or manner under what qualifications soever, we are 
under that covenant still. If it be of works any way, it is not 
of grace at all. But it is added, that the differences are such 
as are sufficient to constitute covenants effectually distinct. As 
,(1) Perfect, sinless obedience was required in the first cove- 


liant; but in thenew, that which is imperfect and accompanied 
with many sins and failings, is accepted. Answer. This is 
gratis dictum, and begs the question. No righteousness to 
justification before God, is or can be accepted, but what is per- 
fect. (2) Grace is the original fountain and cause of all our 
acceptance before God in the new covenant. Answer. It was 
so also in the old. The creation of man in original righteous- 
ness was an effect of divine grace, benignity, and goodness. 
And the reward of eternal life in the enjoyment of God, was 
of mere sovereign grace : yet what was then of works, was not 
of grace ; no more is it at present. (3) There would then have 
been merit of works, which is now excluded. Answer. Such 
a merit as arises from an equality and proportion between 
works and reward, by the rule of commutative justice, would 
not have been in the works of the first covenant ; and in no 
other sense is it now rejected by them that oppose the imputa- 
tion of the righteousness of Christ. (4) All is now resolved 
into the merit of Christ, upon the account whereof alone, our 
own personal righteousness is accepted before God to our jus- 
tification. Answer. The question is not on what account, nor 
for what reason it is so accepted, but whether it be or not ; 
seeing its so being is effectually constitutive of a covenant of 



We shall take our fourth argument from the express exclusion 
of all works of what sort soever from our justification before 
God. For this alone is that which we plead; namely, that no 
acts or works of our own are the causes or conditions of our 
justification; but that the whole of it is resolved into the free 
grace of God, through Jesus Christ, as the mediator and surety 
of the covenant. To this purpose the Scripture speaks expressly, 
Rom. iii. 28. " Therefore we conclude, that a man is justi- 
fied by faith, without the works of the law," Rom. iv. 5; " But 
unto him that worketh not, but believethon him that justifieth 


the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Rom. xi. 
6. "If it be of grace, then is it not of worlds." Gal. ii. 16, 
" Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, 
but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in 
Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, 
and not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law, 
shall no flesh be justified." Eph. ii. 8, 9. "For by grace ye 
are saved through faith, not of Avorks, lest any man should 
boast." Tit. iii. 5. " Not by works of righteousness, which we 
have done, but according unto his mercy he hath saved us." 

These and the like testimonies are express, and in positive 
terms assert all that we contend for. And I am persuaded, that 
no unprejudiced person, whose mind is not prepossessed with 
notions and distinctions, whereof not the least tittle is offered to 
them from the texts mentioned, nor elsewhere, can but judge 
that the law in every sense of it, and all sorts of works what- 
ever, that at any time, or by any means, sinners or believers do 
or can perform, are, not in this or that sense, but every way 
and in all senses, excluded from our justification before God. 
And if it be so, it is the righteousness of Christ alone that Ave 
must betake ourselves to, or this matter must cease for ever. 
And this inference the Apostle himself makes from one of the 
testimonies before mentioned, namely, that of Gal. ii. 16 ; for he 
adds upon it ; "I through the law am dead to the law, that I 
might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless 
I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I 
now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who 
loved me and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace 
of God; for if righteousness come by the law then is Christ 
dead in vain." 

Our adversaries are extremely divided among themselves, 
and can come to no consistency, as to the sense and meaning of 
the Apostle in these assertions; for what is proper and obvious 
to the understanding of all men, especially from the opposition 
that is made between the law and works on the one hand, and 
faith, grace, and Christ on the other, (which are opposed as in- 
consistent in this matter of our justification,) they will not allow, 
nor can do so without the ruin of the opinions they plead for. 
Wherefore their various conjectures shall be examined, as well 
to show their inconsistency among themselves, by whom the 
truth is opposed, as to confirm our present argument. 

1. Some say it is the ceremonial law alone, and the works 
of it that are intended; or the law as given to Moses on Mount 


Sinai, contaiiiiiig that entire covenant that was afterwards to 
be aboUshed. This was of old tlie common opinion of the 
schoolmen, thougli it be now generally exploded. And the 
opinion lately contended for, that the Apostle Paul excludes 
justiiication from the works of the law, not because no man 
can yield that perfect obedience which the law requires, or ex- 
cludes works absolutely perfect, and sinless obedience; but be- 
cause the law itself, which he intends, could not justify any by 
the observ'ation of it, is nothing but the renovation of this ob- 
solete notion, that it is the ceremonial law only, or the law 
given on Mount Sinai, abstracted from the grace of the pro- 
mise, which could not justify any, in the observation of its rites 
and commands. But of all other conjectures, this is the most 
impertinent and contradictory to the design of the Apostle, and 
is therefore rejected by Bellarmine himself. For the Apostle 
treats of that law, the doers of which shall be justified, Rom. 
ii. 13. And the authors of this opinion would have it to be a 
law that can justify none of them that do it. That law he in- 
tends whereby is the knowledge of sin; for he gives this reason, 
why we cannot be justified by the works of it, namely, because 
by it, is the knowledge of sin, iii. 20. And by what law is the 
knowledge of sin, he expressly declares, where he affirms, that 
" he had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt 
not covet," vii. 7; which is the moral law alone. That law he 
designs, which stops the mouth of all sinners, and makes all 
the world obnoxious to the judgment of God, iii. 19; which no 
law can do but the law written in the heart of men at their 
creation, ii. 14, 15; that law which if a man do the works of 
it, he shall live in them; Gal. iii. 12; Rom. x. 5; and which 
brings all men under the curse for sin, Gal. iii. 10; the law that 
is established by faith and not made void; Rom. iii. 31; which 
the ceremonial law is not, nor the covenant of Sinai; the law 
whose righteousness is to be fulfilled in us; Rom. viii. 4. And 
the instance which the Apostle gives of justification without the 
works of that law which he intends, namely that of Abraham, 
was some hundreds of years before the giving of the ceremo- 
nial law. Neither yet do I say that the ceremonial law and 
the works of it are excluded from the intention of the Apostle; 
for when that law was given, the observation of it was an espe- 
cial instance of that obedience we owed to the first table of the 
decalogue; and the exclusion of the works thereof from our 
justification, in as much as the performance of them was part 
of that moral obedience which we owed to God, is exclusive 



of all other works also. But that it is alone here intended, or 
that law which could never justify any by its observation, al- 
though it was observed in due manner, is a fond imagination, 
and contradictory to the express assertion of the Apostle. And 
whatever is pretended to the contrary, this opinion is expressly 
rejected by Augustine.* " Lest any one should think, that the 
Apostle had said that no one was justified by that law, which, 
under the ancient sacraments, contains many figurative pre- 
cepts, whence also is that circumcision of the flesh, he imme- 
diately subjoins what law he means; and adds, 'By the law is 
the knowledge of sin.' " And to the same purpose he speaks 
again.t " Not only those works of the law contained in the 
ancient sacraments, which, since the revelation of the New 
Testament are not observed by Christians, such as circumcision, 
the ceremonial observance of the Sabbath, abstinence from par- 
ticular meats, the offering of animals in sacrifice, the new 
moons, unleavened bread, &c., but also the command of the 
law, ' Thou shalt not covet,' which every Christian acknow- 
ledges to be universally binding, do not justify a man, unless 
through the faith of Jesus Christ, and the grace of God through 
our Lord Jesus Christ." 

2. Some say the Apostle only excludes the perfect works re 
quired by the law of innocency, which is a sense diametrically 
opposite to that foregoing. But this best pleases the Socinians.J 
" Paul in this passage is treating about perfect works, and there- 
fore he adds, 'without the works of the law,' to show that he 

* Ne quisquam putaret hie Apostolum dixisse ea lege neminem justificari, 
quae in sacramentis veteribus multa continent figurata prajcepta, unde etiam 
est ista circumcisio carnis, continue subjungit,quam dixerit legem et addit; 
per legem cognitio peccati, lib. de Spirit, et Liter, cap. 8. 

f Non solum ilia opera legis quEe sunt in veteribus sacramentis, et nunc 
revelato Testamento novo non observantur a Christianis, sicut est circum- 
cisio praiputii, et sabbati caroalis vacatio, et a quibusdam escis abstinentia, 
et pecorum in sacrificiis immolatio, etneomeniaet azymum, et castera hujus- 
modi, verum etiam illud quod in lege dictum est, non concupisces, quod 
ubique et Christianus nullus ambigit esse dicendum, non justificat hominem, 
nisi per fidem Jesu Christi et gratiam Dei per Jesum Christum dominum 
nostrum. Epist. 200. 

X Paulus agit de operibus et perfectis in hoc dicto, ideo enim adjecit, sine 
operibus legis, ut indicaretur loqui eum de operibus a lege requisitis, et sic 
de perpetua et perfectissimadiviuorum prajceptorum obedientia sicut lex re- 
quirit. Cum autem talem qualem lex requirit nemo pr;rstare 
possit, ideo subjecit Apostolus nos justificari fide, id est,fiducia et obedientia 
ea quantum quisque prajstare potest, et quotidie quam maximum pra^stare 
studet, et connitilur. Sine operibus legis, id est, etsi interim perfecte tolam 
legem sicut debebat complere nequit. — Socinus. 


is speaking of works required by the law, and consequently, of 
that perpetual and perfect observance of the divine commands 
which the law requires. But as no man can render such an 
obedience as the law demands, therefore the Apostle adds that 
we are 'justified by faith,' that is by such a confidence and 
obedience as every one can render, and daily labours and 
strives as much as in him lies to render." But (1) We have 
herein the whole granted of what we plead for; namely, that 
it is the moral indispensable law of God that is intended by the 
Apostle ; and that by the works of it no man can be justified, 
yea, that all the works of it are excluded from our justification; 
for it is, saith the Apostle, " without works." The works of 
this law being performed according to it, will justify them that 
perform them, as he affirms, Rom. ii. 13, and the Scripture else- 
where witnesses, that "he that doeth them, shall live in them:" 
but because this can never be done by any sinner, therefore all 
consideration of them is excluded from our justification. (2) It 
is a wild imagijiation that the dispute of the Apostle is to this 
purpose, ihat the perfect works of the law will not justify us, 
but imperfect works, which answer not the law, will do so. (3) 
Granting the law intended, to be the moral law of God, the law 
of our creation, there is no such distinction intimated in the 
least by the Apostle, that we are not justified by the perfect 
works of it which we cannot perform, but by some imperfect 
works that we can perform, and labour so to do. Nothing 
is more foreign to the design and express words of his 
wliole discourse. (4) The evasion which they betake them- 
selves to, that the Apostle opposes justification by faith to that 
of works which he excludes, is altogether vain in this sense. 
For they would have this faith to be our obedience to the di- 
vine commands in that imperfect manner which we can attain 
to. For when the Apostle has excluded all such justification 
by the law and the works thereof, he does not advance in op- 
position to them and in their room, our own faith and obedience ; 
but adds, " being justified freely by his grace through the re- 
demption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God has set forth to be 
a propitiation through faith in his blood." 

3. Some of late among ourselves, and they want not them 
who have gone before them, affirm that the works which the 
Apostle excludes from justification, are only the outward works 
of the law, performed without an inward principle of faith, 
fear, or the love of God. Servile works attended to from a 
respect to the threatening of the law, are those which will not 


justify US. But this opinion is not only false but impious. Foi 
(1) The Apostle excludes the works of Abraham which were 
not such outward servile works as are imagined. (2) The 
works excluded are those which the law requires; and "the 
law is holy, just and good." But a law that requires only out- 
ward works without internal love to God, is neither holy, just 
nor good. (3) The law condemns all such works as are sepa- 
rated from the internal principle of faith, fear and love, for it 
requires that in all our obedience we should love the Lord our 
God with all our hearts. And the Apostle says not, that we 
are not justified by the works which the law condemns, but by 
them which the law commands. (4) It is highly reflecting on 
the honour of God, that he whose divine prerogative it is to 
know the hearts of men alone, and who, therefore regards them 
alone in all the duties of their obedience, should give a law re- 
quiring outward servile works only; for if the law intended 
require more, then are not those the only works excluded. 

4. Some say in general it is the Jewish law that is intended, 
and think thereby to cast off the whole ditticulty. But if by 
the Jewish law they intend only the ceremonial law, or the law 
absolutely as given by Moses, we have already showed the 
vanity of that pretence. But if they mean thereby the whole 
law or rule of obedience given to the church of Israel under 
the Old Testament, they express much of the truth; it may be 
more than they designed. 

5. Some say that it is works, with a conceit of merit, that 
makes the reward to be of debt, and not of grace, that are ex- 
cluded by the Apostle. But no such distinction appears in the 
text or context. For (1) The Apostle excludes all works of 
the law, that is, that the la\t requires of us in a way of obe- 
dience, be they of what sort they will. (2) The law requires 
no works with a conceit of merit. (3) Works of the law origi- 
nally included no merit, as that which arises from the propor- 
tion of one thing to another in the balance of justice, and in 
that sense only is it rejected by those who plead for an inte- 
rest of works in justification. (4) The merit which the Apostle 
excludes, is that which is inseparable from works, so that it 
cannot be excluded, unless the works themselves be so. And 
to their merit two things concur: (1) A comparative boasting 
that is, not absolutely in the sight of God, which follows the 
merltam ex co/idigno, which some poor sinful mortals have 
fancied in their works; but that which gives one man a pre- 
ference above another in the obtaining of justification, which 


grace will not allow, Rora. iv. 2. (2) That the reward be not 
absolutely of grace, but that respect be had therein to works, 
which makes it so far to be of debt; not out of an interna] con- 
dignity which would not have been inider the law of creation, 
but out of some congruity with respect to the promise of God, 
Rom. V. 4. In these two regards merit is hiseparable from 
works; and the Holy Ghost utterly to exclude it, excludes all 
works from which it is inseparable, as it is from all. Where- 
fore (5) the Apostle speaks not one word about the exclusion 
of the merit of works only; but he excludes all works whatever, 
and that by this argument, that the admission of them would 
necessarily introduce merit in the sense described, which is 
inconsistent with grace. And although some think that they 
are injuriously dealt with, when they are charged with main 
taining merit in their asserting the influence of our works upon 
our justification; yet those of them who best understand them- 
selves, and the controversy itself, are not so averse from some 
kind of merit, as knowing that it is inseparable from works. 

6. Some contend that the Apostle excludes only works 
wrought before believing, in the strength of our own wills and 
natural abilities, without the aid of grace. Works they sup- 
pose required by the law are such as we perform by the direc- 
tion and command of the law, alone. But the law of faith 
requires works in the strength of the supplies of grace which 
are not excluded. This is that which the most learned and 
judicious of the church of Rome now generally betake them- 
selves to. Those who amongst us plead for works in our jus- 
tification, use many disthictions to explain their minds, and 
free their opinion from a coincidence with that of the Papists, 
yet they deny the name of merit and the thing itself, in the 
sense of the church of Rome, as it is renounced likewise by all 
the Socinians. Wherefore they make use of the preceding 
evasion, that merit is excluded by the Apostle, and works only 
as they are meritorious, although the Apostle's plain argument 
be that they are excluded because such a merit as is incon- 
sistent with grace, is inseparable from their admission. 

Bat the Roman church cannot so part with merit. Where- 
fore they are to find out a sort of works to be excluded only, 
which they are content to part with as not meritorious. Such 
are those before described, wrought as they say before believ- 
ing, and without the aids of grace ; and such, they say, are all 
the works of the law. And this they do with some more mo- 
desty and sobriety, than those amongst us, who would have 



only external works and observances to be intended. For 
they grant that sundry internal works, as those of attrition, sor- 
row for sin, and the like, are of this nature. But the works 
of the law it is they say that are excluded. But this whole 
plea, and all the sophism wherewith it is countenanced, have 
been so discussed and defeated by Protestant writers of all 
sorts against Bellarmine and others, that it is needless to repeat 
the same things, or to add any thing to them. And the false- 
hood of it will be sufficiently evinced, in what we shall imn>e- 
diately prove concerning the law and works intended by the 
Apostle. However, the heads of the demonstration of the 
truth to the contrary may be touched on. And (1) the Apostle 
excludes all works without distinction or exception. And we 
are not to distinguish where the law does not distinguish before 
us. (2) All the works of the law are excluded ; therefore all 
works wrought after believing by the aids of grace are ex- 
cluded. For they are all required by the law. See Psa, cxix. 
35; Rom. vii. 22. Works not required by the law, are no less 
an abomination to God, than sins against the law. (3) The 
works of believers after conversion, performed by the aids of 
grace, are expressly excluded by the Apostle. So are those 
of Abraham after he had been a believer many years, and 
abounded in them to the praise of God. So he excludes his 
own works after his conversion, Gal. ii. 16; 1 Cor. iv. 4; Phil, 
iii. 9. And so he excludes the works of all other believers; 
Ephes. ii. 9, 10. (4) All works are excluded that might give 
countenance to boasting, Rom. iv. 2; iii. 17; Eph. ii. 9; 1 Cor. 
i, 29 — 31. But this is done more by the good works o^ re- 
generate persons, than by any works of unbelievers. (5) The 
law requires faith and love in all our works, and therefore if 
all the works of the law be excluded, the best works of be- 
lievers are so. (6) All works are excluded which are opposed 
to grace working freely in our justification. But this all works 
whatever are, Rom. xi. 6. (7) In the Epistle to the Galatians 
the Apostle excludes from our justification all those works 
which the false teachers pressed as necessary thereto. But 
they urged the necessity of the works of believers, and those 
who were by grace already converted to God. For tliose 
upon whom they pressed them to this end, were already ac- 
tually so. (8) They are good works that the Apostle excludes 
from our justification. For there can be no pretence of justi- 
fication by those works that are not good, or which have not 
all ihings'essentially requisite to make them so. But such are 


all the works of unbelievers, performed without the aids of 
grace ; they are not good, nor as such accepted with God ; but 
want what is essentially requisite to the constitution of good 
works. And it is ridiculous to think that the Apostle disputes 
about the exclusion of such works from our justification, as 
no man in his wits would think to have any place therein. 
(9) The reason why no man can be justified by the law, is be- 
cause no man can yield perfect obedience thereto. For by 
perfect obedience the law wiU justify, Rom. ii. 13; x. 5. Where- 
fore all works are excluded that are not absolutely perfect. 
But this the best works of believers are not; as we have 
proved before. (10) If there be a reserve for the works of 
believers performed by the aid of grace in our justification, it 
is, that either they may be con-causes thereof, or be indispen- 
sably subservient to those things that are so. That they are 
con-causes of our justification is not absolutely affirmed; 
neither can it be said, that they are necessarily subservient to 
them that are so. They are not so to the efficient cause thereof, 
which is the grace and favour of God alone, Rom. iii. 24, 25; 
iv. 16; Eph. ii. 8, 9; Rev. i. 6. Nor are they so to the meri- 
torious cause of it, which is Christ alone. Acts xiii. 38; xxvi. 
18; 1 Cor. i. 30; 2 Cor. v. 18 — 21; nor to the material cause of 
it; which is the righteousness of Christ alone; Rom. x. 3, 4. 
Nor are they so to faith in what place soever it be stated. For 
not only is faith alone mentioned, wherever we are taught the 
way how the righteousness of Christ is derived and comnui- 
nicated to us, without any intimation of the conjunction of 
works with it; but also, as to our justification they are placed 
in opposition and contradiction one to tiie other, Rom. iii. 28. 
And sundry other things are pleadable to the same purpose. 

7. Some affirm that the Aposde excludes all works from our 
first justification, but not from the second, or as some speak, the 
continuation of our justification. But we have before examined 
these distinctions, and found them groundless. 

Evident it is therefore, that men put thems'elves into an un- 
certain, slippery station, where they know not what to fix upon, 
nor wherein to find any such appearance of truth as to give 
them countenance in denying the .plain and frequently repeated 
assertion of the Apostle. 

Wherefore in the confirmation of the present argument, I 
shall more particularly inquire into what it is, that the Apostle 
intends by the law and works whereof he treats. For as to our 
justification, whatever they are, they are absolutely and uni- 


versally opposed to grace, faith, the righteousness of God, and 
the blood of Christ, as those which are ahogether inconsistent 
Mnth them. Neither can this be denied or questioned by any, 
seeing it is the phiin design of the Apostle to evince that incon- 

1. Wherefore in general, it is evident that the Apostle by the 
law and the works thereof, intended what the Jews with whom 
he had to do, understood by the law and their own whole obe- 
dience thereto. I suppose this cannot be denied. For without 
a concession of it, there is notliing proved against ihern, nor 
are they in any thing instructed by him. Suppose those terms 
equivocal, and to be taken in one sense by him, and by them 
in another, and nothing can be rightly concluded from what is 
spoken of them. Wherefore the meaning of these terms the 
law and works, the Apostle takes for granted as vejy well 
known, and agreed on between himself and those with whom 
he had to do. 

2. The Jews by the law intended what the Scriptures of the 
Old Testament meant by that expression. For they are no- 
where blamed for any false notion concerning the law, or that 
they esteemed any thing to be so, but what was so indeed, and 
what was so called in the Scripture. Their present oral law 
was not yet hatched, though the Pharisees were brooding it. 

3. The law under the Old Testament, immediately refers to 
the law given at Mount Sinai, nor is there any distinct mention 
of it before. This is commonly called the law absolutely; but 
most frequently the "law of God," the "law of the Lord;" and 
sometimes the " law of Moses," because of his especial minis- 
try in the giving of it. " Remember the law of Moses my ser- 
vant, which I commanded unto him," Mai. iv. 4. And this 
the Jews intended by tlie law. 

4. Of the law so given at Horeb, there was a distribution 
into three parts. (1.) There was the " ten words;" Deut. iv. 13; 
X. 4; that is, the ten commandments written on two tables of 
stone. This part of the law was first given; was the founda- 
tion of the whole, and contained that perfect obedience which 
was requn'ed of mankind by tlie law of creation, and was now 
received into the church, with tlie highest attestations of its in- 
dispensable obligation to obedience or punishment. (2) a^pn 
which the LXX render by Sixatcouara, that is jura; "rights or 
statutes;" but the Latin from thence just ificationes, "justifica- 
tions," which has given great occasion of mistake in many both 
ancient and modern divines. We call it the ceremonial law 


The Apostle terms this part of the law distinctly w^uo? i^To-^Mv 
h Soy/xaoi, Ephes. ii. 15. "The law of commandments contain- 
ed in ordinances;" that is, consisting in a multitude of arbitrary- 
commands. (3) ainc:T which we commonly call the judicial 
law. This distribution of the law shuts up the Old Testament, 
as it is used in places innumerable before, only the an^-i mti-p the 
" ten words/' is expressed by the general word nim the law, 
Mai. iv. 4. 

5. These being the parts of the law given to the church in 
Sinai, the whole of it is constantly called " the law," that is, 
the instruction (as the word signifies) that God gave to the 
church, in the rule of obedience which he prescribed to it. This 
is the constant signification of that word in Scripture, where it 
is taken absolutely; and thereon does not signify precisely the 
law as given at Horeb, but comprehends with it all the revela- 
tions that God made to the Old Testament, in the explanation 
and confirmation of that law, in rules, motives, directions and 
enforcements of obedience. 

6. Wherefore " the law" is the whole rule of obedience which 
God gave to the church under the Old Testament, with all the 
eflicacy wherewith it was accompanied by the ordinances of 
God, including in it all the promises and threatenings, that might 
be motives to the obedience tbat Gqd required. This is that 
vvhich God and the church called the law under the Old Testa- 
ment, and which the Jews so called with whom our Apostle 
had to do. That which we called the moral law was the founda- 
tion of the whole; and those parts of it which we call the judi- 
cial and ceremonial law, were peculiar instances of the obe- 
dience which the church under the Old Testament was obliged 
to, in the especial polity and divine worship, which at that 
season were necessary to it. And two things the Scripture tes- 
tifies to, concerning this law. 

1. That it was a perfect complete rule of all that internal, 
spiritual and moral obedience which God required of the 
church. " The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul ; 
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple," 
Psa. xix. 7. And it was so of all the external duties of obe- 
dience, for matter and manner, time and season; that in both 
the church might walk "acceptably before God," Isa. viii. 20. 
And although the original duties of the moral part of the law 
are often preferred before the particular instances of obedience 
in duties of outward v."orship; yet the whole law was always 
the whole rule of all the obedience internal and external that 


God required of the church, and which he accepted in them 
that beheved. 

2. That this law, tliis rule of obedience as it was ordained 
of God to be the instrument of his rule of the church, and by 
virtue of the covenant made with Abraham, to whose adminis- 
tration it was adapted, and which its introduction on Sinai did 
not disannul, was accompanied with a power and efficacy en- 
abling to obedience. The law itself as merely preceptive and 
commanding, administered no' power or ability to those that 
were under its authority to yield obedience to it; no more do 
the mere commands of the gospel. Moreover under the Old 
Testament it enforced obedience on the minds and consciences 
of men, by the manner of its first delivery, and the severity of 
its sanction, so as to fill them with fear and bondage ; and was 
besides accompanied with such burthensome rules of outward 
worship, as made it a heavy yoke to the people. But as it was 
God's doctrine, teaching, instruction, in all acceptable obedience 
to himself, and was adapted to the covenant of Abraham, it 
was accompanied with an administration of effectual grace, 
])rocuring and promoting obedience in the church. And tlie 
law is not to be looked on as separated from those aids to obe- 
dience, which God administered under the Old Testament, 
whose eifects are therefore ascribed to the law itself. See Psa. 
i. xix. cxix. 

3. This being the law in the sense of the Apostle, and those 
with whom he had to do, our next inquiry is, what was their sense 
of works, or works of the law? And I say it is plain that they 
intended hereby, the universal sincere obedience of the church 
to God, according to this law. And other works, the law of God 
acknowledges not; yea, it expressly condemns all works that 
have any such defect in them, as to render them unacceptable 
to God. Hence, notwithstanding all the commands that God 
had positively given for the strict observance of sacrifices, olfer- 
ings, and the like, yet when the people performed them with- 
out faith and love, he expressly affirms that he commanded 
them not, that is, to be observed in such a manner. In these 
works therefore consisted their personal righteousness, as "they 
walked in all tlie commandments and ordinances of the Lord, 
blameless," Luke i. 6, wherein they "instantly served God day 
and night," Acts xxvi. 7. And this they esteemed to be their 
own righteousness, their righteousness according to the law, as 
really it was, Phil. iii. 6, 9. For although the Pharisees had 
greatly corrupted the doctrhie of the law, and put false glosses 


on sundry precepts of it; yet, that the church in those days did 
by the works of the law, understand either ceremonial duties 
only, or external works, or works with a conceit of merit, or 
works wrought without an internal principle of faith, and love 
to God, or any thing but their own personal sincere obedience 
to the whole doctrine and rule of the law, there is nothing that 
should give the least colour of imagination. For 

1. All this is perfectly stated in the suffrage which the scribe 
gave to the declaration of the sense and design of the law, with 
the nature of the obedience which it requires, that was madfi 
at his request by our blessed Saviour, Mark xii. 28 — 33. "And. 
one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning to- 
gether, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked 
him. Which is the first commandment of all?" or as it is. Matt, 
xxii. 36, " Which is the great commandment in the law ? And 
Jesus answered him. The first of all the commandments is, Hear, 
Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and 
with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first 
commandment: and the second is like, namely this, thou shalt 
love thy neighbour as thyself. And the scribe said unto him, 
Well, Master, thou hast said the truth; for there is one God, and 
there is none but he. And to love him with all the heart, and 
with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all 
the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than 
all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices." And this is so express- 
ly given by Moses as the sum of the law, namely, faith and 
love, as the principle of all our obedience. Dent, vi. 4, 5, that it 
is marvellous what should induce any learned sober person to 
fix upon any other sense of it; as that it respected ceremonial 
or external works only, or such as may be wrought without 
faith or love. This is the law concerning which the Apostle 
disputes, and this the obedience wherein the works of it con- 
sist. And more than this, in the way of obedience, God never 
did nor will require of any in this world. Wherefore the law, 
which the Apostle excludes from justification, is that whereby 
we are obliged to believe in God as one God, the only God, and 
love him with all our hearts and souls, and our neighbours as 
ourselves. And what works there are, or can be in any persons 
regenerate or not regenerate, to be performed in the strength 
of grace, or without it, that are acceptable to God, that may 
not be reduced to these heads, I know not. 

2. The Apostle himself declares, that it is the law and the 


works of it in the sense we have expressed, that he excludes 
from our justification. 

For the law he speaks of, is the " law of righteousness," 
Rom, ix. 31, the law whose righteousness is to be fulfilled in 
us, that we may be accepted with God, and freed from con- 
demnation, Rom. viii. 5 ; that, in obedience whereto our own 
personal righteousness consists, whether what we judge so, 
before conv^ersion, Rom. x. 6, or what is so after it, Phil. iii. 9, 
the law which if a man observe, he shall live, and be justified 
before God, Rom. ii. 13; Gal. iii. 12 ; Rom. x. 5 ; that law which 
is " holy, just, and good," which discovers and condenms all 
sin whatever, Rom. vii. 7 — 9. 

From what has been discoursed, these two things are evi- 
dent in the confirmation of our present c^-gument. (1) That 
the law intended by the Apostle, when he denies that by the 
works of the law any can be justified, is the entire rule and 
guide of our obedience to God, even as to the whole frame 
and spiritual constitution of our souls, with all the acts of obe- 
dience or duties that he requires of us. And (2) that the works 
of this law which he so frequently and plainly excludes from 
our justification, and therein opposes to the grace of God, and 
the blood of Christ, are all the duties of obedience, internal, 
supernatural, external, ritual, however we are or may be en- 
abled to perform them, that God requires of us. And these 
things excluded, it is the righteousness of Christ alone imputed 
to us, on the account whereof we are justified before God. 

The truth is, so far as I can discern, the real difference that 
is at this day amongst us about the doctrine of our justification 
before God, is the same that was between the Apostle and the 
Jews, and no other. But controversies in religion make a 
great appearance of being new, when they are only varied and 
made different by the new terms and expressions that are in- 
troduced into the handling of them. So has it fallen out in the 
controversy about nature and grace ; for as to the true nature 
of it, it is the same in these days, as it was between the Apostle 
Paul and the Pharisees, between Austin and Pelagius after- 
wards. But it has now passed through so many forms and 
dresses of words, that it can scarce be known to be what it 
was. Many at this day will condemn both Pelagius and the 
doctrine that he taught, in the words wherein he taught it, and 
yet embrace and approve of the things themselves which he 
intended. The introduction of every change in philosophical 
learning, gives an appearance of a change in the controversies 


which are managed thereby. But take off the covering of 
philosophical expressions, distinctions, metaphysical notions, 
and futile terms of art, which some of the ancient schoolmen 
and later disputants have cast upon it, and the difference about 
grace and nature is amongst us all, the same that it was of old, 
and as it is allowed by the Socinians. 

Thus the Apostle treating of our justification before God, 
does it in these terras which are both expressive of the thing 
itself, and were well understood by them with whom he had 
to do; such as the Holy Spirit in their revelation had cons€v- 
crated to their proper use. Thus on the one hand he expressly 
excludes the law, our own works, our own righteousness, from 
any interest therein; and in opposition to, and as inconsistent 
with them in the matter of justification, he ascribes it wholly 
to the righteousness of God, righteousness imputed to us, the 
obedience of Christ, Christ made righteousness to us, the blood 
of Christ as a propitiation, faith receiviug Christ and the atone- 
ment. There is no awakened conscience guided by the least 
beam of spiritual illumination, but in itself plainly understands 
these things, and what is intended in them. But through the 
admission of exotic learning, with philosophical terms and no- 
tions, into the way of teaching spiritual things in religion, a 
new face and appearance is put ou the whole matter, and a 
composition made between those things which the Apostle 
directly opposes as contrary and inconsistent. Hence are all 
our discourses about preparations, dispositions, conditions, 
merits de congruo and condigno, with such a train of distinc- 
tions, that if some bounds be not fixed to the inventing and 
coining of them, (which being a facile work, grows on us 
every day) we shall not ere long be able to look through them, 
so as to discover the things intended, or rightly to understand 
one another. For as one said of lies, so it may be said of ar- 
bitrary distinctions, they must be continually new thatched 
over, or it will rain through. But the best way is to cast off 
all these coverings, and we shall then quickly see, that the real 
difference about the justification of a sinner before God, is the 
same and no other, as it was in the days of the Apostle Paul, 
between him and the Jews. And all those things which men 
are pleased now to plead for, with respect to a causality in our 
justification before God, under the names of preparations, cou- 
ditions, dispositions, merit with respect to a first or second jus- 
tification, are as effectually excluded by the Apostle, as if he 
had expressly named them every one. For in them all, therp 



]s a management according to our conceptions, and the terms 
of the learning passing in tlie present age, of the plea for our 
own personal righteousness which the Jews maintained against 
the Apostle. And the true understanding of what he intends 
by the law, the works and righteousness thereof, would be 
sufficient to determine this controversy, but that men are grown 
very skilful in the art of endless wrangling. 



The truth which we plead has two parts. (1) That the right- 
eousness of God imputed to us, to tlie justification of life, is the 
righteousness of Christ, by whose obedience we are made 
righteous. (2) That it is laith alone, which on our part is re- 
quired to interest us in that righteousness, or whereby we 
comply with God's grant and communication of it, or receive 
it to our use and benefit. For although this faith is in itself 
the radical principle of all obedience, and whatever is not so, 
which cannot, which does not on all occasions, evidence, prove, 
show or manifest itself by works, is not of the same kind with 
it, yet as we are justified by it, its act and duty is such, or of 
that nature, that no other grace, duty or work can be associated 
with it, or be of any consideration. And both these are evi- 
dently confirmed in that description which is given us in the 
Scripture, of the nature of faith and believing to the justifica- 
tion of life. 

I know that many expressions used in the declaration of the 
nature and work of faith herein, are metaphorical, at least are 
generally esteemed so to be. But they are such as the Holj 
Ghost in his infinite wisdom thought meet to make use of, for 
the instruction and edification of the church. And 1 cannot 
but say, that those who understand not how eftectually the 
light of knowledge is communicated by them to the minds of 
them that believe, and a sense of the things intended, to their 
spiritual experience, seem not to have taken a due considera- 
tion of them. Nor, whatever skill we pretend to, do we know 
always what expressions of spiritual things are luetuphorical. 


Those oftentimes may seem so to be, which are most proper. 
However, it is most safe for us to adhere to the expressions of 
the Holy Spirit, and not to embrace such senses of things as 
are inconsistent with them, and opposite to them. Wherefore, 
1. That faith whereby we are justified, is most frequently in 
the New Testament expressed by receiving. This notion of 
faith has been before spoken to, in our general inquiry into 
the use of it in our justification. It shall not therefore be here 
much again insisted on. Two things we may observe con- 
cerning it. (1) That it is so expressed with respect to the 
whole object of faith, or to all that any way concurs to our 
justification. For we are said to receive Christ hnnself " To 
as many as received him, he gave power to become the sons 
of God," John i. 12. "As ye have received Christ' Jesus 
the Lord," Col. ii. 6. In opposition hereto unbelief is express- 
ed by "not receiving him," John i. 11 ; iii, 11 ; xii. 48; xiv. 17. 
And it is a receiving of Christ, as he is " the Lord our right- 
eousness," as " of God he is made righteousness" to us. And 
as no grace, no duty can have any co-operation with faith 
herein, this reception of Christ not belonging to their nature, 
nor comprised in their exercise; so it excludes any other right- 
eousness from our justification but that of Clnist alone. For 
we are justified by faith; faith alone receives Christ, and what 
it receives is the cause of our justification, whereon we become 
" the sons of God." So we " receive the atonement," made 
by the blood of Christ, Rom. v. 11. For " God has set him 
forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." And 
this receiving of the atonement, includes the soul's approbation 
of the way of salvation by the blood of Christ, and the appro- 
priation of the atonemoit made thereby to our own souls. For 
thereby also we receive the forgiveness of sins; "that they 
may receive the forgiveness of sin, through the faith that is in 
me," Acts xxvi. IS, In receiving Christ we receive the atone- 
ment, and in the atonement we receive the forgiveness of sins. 
But moreover the grace of God, and righteousness itself, as 
the efficient and material cause of our justification are received 
also; even the "abundance of grace, and the gift of righteous- 
ness," Rom. V. 17. So that faith with the respect to all the 
causes of justification is expressed by receiving. For it also 
receives the promise, the instrumental cause on the part of God 
thereof. Acts ii. 41 ; Heb. ix. 15, (2) That the nature of faith 
and its acting with respect to all the causes of justification con- 
sisting in receiving, that which is tlie object of it nmst be 


offered, tendered, and given to lis, as that which is not oiir 
own, but is made our own by that giving and receiving. This 
is evident in the general nature of receiving. And herein, as 
was observed, as no other grace or duty can concur with it, so 
the righteousness whereby we are justified can be none of our 
own, antecedent to this reception, nor at any time inherent in 
us. Hence we argue, that if the work of faitii in our justifica- 
tion be receiving of what is freely granted, given, communi- 
cated and imputed to us, that is, of Christ, of the atonement, 
of the gift of righteousness, of the forgiveness of sins, then have 
our other graces, our obedience, duties, works, no intluence 
upon our justification, nor are any causes or conditions thereof. 
For the^y are neither that which receives, nor that which is re- 
ceived, which alone concur thereto. 

2. Faith is expressed by looking. " Look unto me and be 
saved," Isa. xlv. 22. " A man shall look to his Maker, and his 
eyes shall have respect unto the Holy One of Israel," Isa. xvii. 1. 
" They shall look on me whom they have pierced," Zech. xii. 
10; See Psa. cxxiii. 2. The nature hereof is expressed, John 
iii. 14, 15. " As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, 
even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever be- 
lieveth in him, should not perish, but have eternal life." For 
so was he to be lifted up on the cross in his death, John viii. 
28; xii. 32. The story is recorded Numb. xxi. 8, 9. I sup- 
pose none doubt but that the stinging of the people by fiery 
serpents, and the death that ensued thereon were types of the 
guilt of sin, and the sentence of the fiery law thereon. For 
these things happened to them in types, 1 Cor. x. 11. When 
any was so stung or bitten, if he betook himself to any other 
remedies, he died and perished. Only they that looked to the 
brazen serpent that was lifted up, were healed and lived. For 
this was the ordinance of God, this way of healing alone had 
he appointed. And their healing was a type of the pardon of 
sin with everlasting life. So by their looking, is the nature of 
faith expressed, as our Saviour plainly expounds it in this place. 
'•' So must the Son of man be lifted up, that he that believcth on 
him," that is, as the Israelites looked to the serpent in the wil- 
derness. And although this expression of the great mystery of 
the gospel by Christ himself, has been by some derided, or as 
they call it exposed, yet it is really as instructive of the nature of 
faith, justification and salvation by Christ, as any passage in the 
Scripture. Now if faith, whereby we are justified, and in that 
f^xercise of it wherein we are so, be a looking to Christ, under 


a sense of the guilt of sin and our lost condition thereby, for 
all, for our only help and relief, for deliverance, righteousness, 
and life, then is it therein exclusive of all other graces and duties 
whatever; for by them we neither look, nor are they the tilings, 
which we look after. But so is the nature and exercise of faith 
expressed by the Holy Ghost. And they who believe, understand 
his mind. For whatever may be pretended of metaphor in the 
expresh,ion, faith is that act of the soul whereby they who are 
hopeless, helpless, and lost in themselves, do in a way of ex- 
pectancy and trust seek for all help and relief in Christ alone; 
or there is not truth in it. And this also suificiently evinces the 
nature of our justification by Christ. 

3. It is in like manner frequently expressed by coming to 
Christ. " Come unto me all ye that labour," Matt. xi. 28. See 
John vi. 35, 37, 45, 65; vii. 37. To come to Christ for life and 
salvation, is to believe on him to the justification of life. But 
no other grace or duty is a coming to Christ, and therefore have 
they no pi.-ce in justification. He who has been convinced of 
sin, who has been wearied with the burthen of it, who has 
really designed to fly from the wrath to come, and has heard 
the voice of Christ in the gospel, inviting him to come to him 
for help and relief, will tell you that this coming to Christ con- 
sists in a man's going out of himself, in a complete renuncia- 
tion of all his own duties and righteousness, and betaking him- 
self with all his trust and confidence to Christ alone, and his 
righteousness, for pardon of sin, acceptance with God, and a 
right to the heavenly inheritance. It may be some will say this 
is not believing, but canting; be it so, we refer the judgment 
of it to the church of God. 

4. It is expressed hyfying for refuge, Heb. vi. 18. " Who 
have fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before us," 
Prov. xviii. 10. Hence some have defined faith to he perfugium 
anima, "the flight of the soul" to Christ for deliverance from 
sin and misery. And much light is given to the understanding 
of the thing intended thereby. For herein it is supposed, that 
he who believes is antecedently thereto convinced of his lest 
condition, and that if he abide therein he must perish eternally; 
that he has nothing of himself whereby he may be delivered 
from it; that he must betake himself to somewhat else for re- 
lief; that to this end he considers Christ as set before him and 
proposed to him in the promise of the gospel; that he judges 
this to be a holy, a safe way for his deliverance and acceptance 
with God, as that which has the characters of all divhie excel 



lencies upon it. Hereon he flieth to it for refuge, that is, witr, 
diUgence and speed, that he perish not in his present condition ; 
he betakes liimself to it by placing his whole trust and afliance 
thereon. And the whole nature of our justification by Christ 
is better declared hereby to the supernatural sense and expe- 
rience of believers, than by an hundred philosophical disputa- 
tions about it. 

5. The terms and notions by which it is expressed under the 
Old Testament, are leaning on God, Micah iii. 11, or Christ, 
Cant. viii. 5, rolling or casting ourselves and our burthen on 
the Lord, Psa. xxii. 8; xxxvii. 5. The wisdom of the Holy 
Ghost in such eppressions has by some been profanely de- 
rided. Resting on God, or in him, 2 Chron. xiv. 11; Psa. 
xxxvii. 7. Cleaving to the Lord, Deut. iv. 4; Acts xi. 15; as 
also by trusting, hoping, and waiting, in places innumerable. 
And it may be observed that those who acted faith as it is thus 
expressed, do every where declare themselves to be lost, hope- 
less, helpless, desolate, poor, orphans, whereon they place all 
their hope and expectation on God alone. 

All that I would infer from these things, is, that the faith 
whereby we believe to the justification of life, or which is 
required of us in a way of duty that we may be justified, is 
such an act of the whole soul whereby convinced sinners 
wholly go out of themselves to rest upon God in Christ, for 
mercy, pardon, life, righteousness, and salvation, with an ac- 
quiescency of heart therein, which is the whole of the truth 
pleaded for. 



That which we now proceed to, is the consideration of those 
express testimonies of Scripture which are given to the truth 
pleaded for, and especially of those places where the doctrine 
of the justification of sinners is expressly and designedly 
handled. From them it is, that we nuist learn the trutli, and 
into them nuist our faith be resolved, to whose authority all 


the arguings and objections of .men must give place. By them 
is more Hght conveyed into the understandings of believers, 
than by the most subtle disputations. And it is a thing not 
without scandal, to see among Protestants whole books written 
about justification, wherein scarce one testimony of Scripture 
is produced, unless it be to find out evasions from the force of 
them. And in particular, whereas the Apostle Paul has most 
fully and expressly (as he had the greatest occasion so to do) 
declared and vindicated the doctrine of evangelical justification, 
not a few, in what they write about it, are so far from declar- 
ing their thoughts and faith concerning it out of his writings, 
that they begin to reflect upon them as obscure, and such as 
give occasion to dangerous mistakes; and unless, as was said, 
to answer and except against them upon their own corrupt 
principles, seldom or never make mention of them. As though 
we were grown wiser than he, or that Spirit whereby he was 
inspired, guided, actuated in all that he wrote; but there can be 
nothing more alien from the genius of Christianity, than for 
us not to endeavour humbly to learn the mystery of the grace 
of God herein, in the declaration of it made by him. But "the 
foundation of God standeth sure," what course soever men 
shall be pleased to take in their profession of religion. 

For the testimonies which I shall produce and insist upon, 
I desire the reader to observe, (1) That they are but some of 
the many that might be pleaded to the same purpose. (2) That 
those which have been, or yet shall be alleged on particular 
occasions, I shall wholly omit; and such are most of them that 
are given to this truth in the Old Testament. (3) That in the 
exposition of them I shall, with what diligence I can, attend 
(1) To the analogy of faith, that is the manifest scope and de- 
sign of the revelation of the mind and will of God in the Scrip- 
ture. And that this is to exalt the freeness and riches of his 
own grace, the glory and excellency of Christ, and his media- 
tion, to discover the woful, lost, forlorn condition of man by 
sin, to debase and depress every thing that is in and of our- 
selves, as to the attaining life, righteousness and salvation, can- 
not be denied by any one who have their senses exercised in 
the Scriptures. (2) To the experience of them that believe, 
with the condition of them who seek after justification by Jesus 
Christ. In other things I hope the best helps and rules of the 
mterpretation of the Scripture shall not be neglected. 

There is weight in this case deservedly laid on the name of 
the Lord Jesus Christ, the Sou of God, as promised and given 


to lis; namely, " tlie Lord our righteousness," Jer. xxiii. 6. 
As the name Jehovah, being given and ascribed to him, is a 
full indication of his divine person; so the addition of his being 
our righteousness, sutficiently declares, that in, and by 1-im 
alone we have righteousness, or are made righteous. So was 
he typified by Melchisedec, as first, " the king of righteous- 
ness," then " the king of peace," Heb. vii. 2. For by his 
righteousness alone have we peace with God. Some of the 
Socinians would evade this testimony, by observing, that right- 
eousness in the Old Testament is used sometimes for benignity, 
kindness and mercy, and so they suppose it may be here. But 
the most of them, avoiding the palpable absurdity of this imagi- 
nation, refer it to the righteousness of God in deliverance, and 
vindication of his people. So Brennius, briefly, Ita vocatur 
quia Dominus per maniim ejus judicium et justitimn faciet 
Israeli. "He is so called, because the Lord, by his hand, shall 
execute judgment and justice for Israel." But these are eva- 
sions of bold men, who care not, so they may say somewhat, 
whether what they say be agreeable to the analogy of faith, 
or the plain words of the Scripture. Bellarmine who was more 
wary to give some appearance of truth to his answers, first 
gives other reasons, why he is called "the Lord our righteous- 
ness," and then, whether unawares, or overpowered by the 
evidence of truth, grants that sense of the words which contains 
the whole of the cause we plead for. Christ, he says, "may be 
called the Lord our righteousness, because he is the efficient 
cause of our righteousness." As God is said to be "our strength 
and salvation." Again, " Christ is said to be our righteous- 
ness; as he is our wisdom, our redemption, and our peace; be- 
cause he has redeemed us, and makes us wise and righteous, 
and reconciles us to God:" and other reasons of the same na- 
ture are added by others. But not trusting to these expositions 
of the words, he adds,* " Christ is said to be our righteousness, 
because he has made satisfaction for us to the P'ather; and so 
gives and communicates that satisfaction to us, when he justi- 
fies us, that it may be said to be our satisfaction, and right- 
eousness. And in this sense it would not be absurd if any one 
should say, that the righteousness of Christ and his merits are 

* DeindediciturCliristus justitia nostra, quoniam satisfecit Patripro nobis, 
et earn satist'actionem ita nobis donat et coiiimunicat, cum nos justilicat, ut 
nostra satisfactio et justitia dici possit. Hoc modo non esset absurdum, si 
quis diceret nobis itnputari Cbristi justitiam et rnerita, cum nobis doiiantur 
et appJicantur,acsinos ipsi Deosatisfecissemus. De Justificat. lib. ii. cap 10. 


imputed to us, when they are given and applied to us, as if we 
ourselves had satisfied God." 

In this sense we say, that Christ is the Lord our righteous- 
ness; nor is there any thing of importance in the whole doc- 
trine of justification that we own, which is not here granted by 
the Cardinal; and that in terms which some among ourselves 
scruple and oppose. I shall therefore look a little further into 
this testimony which has wrested so eminent a confession of 
the truth from so great an adversary. "Behold, the days come, 
saitli the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous 
Branch, and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The 
Lord our righteousness," Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. It is confessed among 
Christians that this is an illustrious renovation of the first pro- 
mise, concerning the incarnation of the Son of God, and our 
salvation by him. This promise was first given when we had 
lost* our original righteousness, and were considered only as 
those who had sinned and come short of the glory of God. In 
this estate, a righteousness was absolutely necessary that we 
might be again accepted with God; for without a righteousness, 
yea, that which is perfect and complete, we never were so, nor 
ever can be so. In this estate it is promised that he shall be 
our righteousness, or as the Apostle expresses it, " the end of 
the law for righteousness to them that believe." That he is so 
there can be no question ; the whole inquiry is, how he is so. 
This, say the most sober and modest of our adversaries, is be- 
cause he is the efficient cause of our righteousness, that is, of 
our personal inherent righteousness. But this righteousness 
may be considered either in itselt', as it is an effect of God's 
grace, and so it is good and holy, although it be not perfect and 
complete ; or it may be considered as it is ours, inherent in us, 
accompanied with the remaining defilements of our nature ; in 
that respect, as this righteousness is ours, the prophet affirms 
that (in the sight of God) " we are all as an unclean thing, and 
all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," Isa. Ixiv. 6; that is, 
our whole personal, inherent righteousness. And the Lord 
Christ cannot from hence be denominated "the Lord our right- 
eousness," seeing it is all " as filthy rags." It must therefore 
be a righteousness of another sort whence this denomination is 
taken, and on the account whereof this name is given him, 
wherefore he is our righteousness, as all our righteousnesses 
are in him. So the church which confesses all her own right- 
eousnesses to be filthy rags, says, " In the Lord have I righteous- 
ness," Isa, xlv,24, which is expounded of Christ by the Apos- 


tie, Rom. xiv. 11," only in the Lord are my righteousnesses;" 
which two places the Apostle expresses, Phil. iii. 9, " that 1 
may win Christ and be found in him, not having mine own 
righteousness which is of the law (in this case as filthy rags) 
but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness 
which is of God by faith." Hence it is added, "in the Lord 
shall the seed of Israel be justified," ver. 25, namely, because 
he is, in what he is, in what he was, and did, as given to and 
for us, "our righteousness," and our righteousness is all in him; 
which totally excludes our own personal inherent righteousness 
from any interest in our justification, and ascribes it wholly to 
the righteousness of Christ. And thus is that emphatical ex- 
pression of the psalmist, " I will go in the strength of the Lord 
God:" (for as to holiness and obedience, all our spiritual 
strength is from him alone) and " I will make mention of thy 
righteousness, of thine only;" Psa. Ixxi. 16, the redoubling 
of the affix excludes all confidence and trusting in any thing 
but the righteousness of God alone. For this the Apostle af- 
firms to be the design of God, in making Christ to be righteous- 
ness to us, namely," that no flesh should glory in his presence, 
but that he that glorieth, should glory in the Lord," 1 Cor, i. 
29 — 31. For it is by faith alone making mention, as to our jus- 
tification, of the righteousness of God, of his righteousness only, 
that all boasting is excluded, Rom. iii. 27. And, besides, what 
shall be further pleaded from particular testimonies, the Scrip- 
ture eminently declares how he is the Lord our righteousness, 
namely, in that he " makes an end of sin and reconciliation for 
iniquity, and brings in everlasting righteousness," Dan. ix. 24. 
For by these things is our justification completed; namely, in 
satisfaction made for sin, the pardon of it in our reconciliation 
to God, and the providing for us an everlasting righteousness. 
Therefore is he the Lord our righteousness, and so rightly call- 
ed. Wherefore, seeing we had lost original righteousness, and 
had none of our own remaining, and stood in need of a perfect, 
complete righteousness, to procure our acceptance with God, 
and such a one as might exclude all occasion of boasting of any 
thing in ourselves, the Lord Christ being given and made to us 
the Lord our righteousness, in whom we have all our right- 
eousness, our own, as it is ours, being as filthy rags in the sight 
of God, and this by making an end of sin, and reconciliation 
for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness, it is by 
his righteousness, by his only, that we are justified in the sight 
of God, and do glory. TJiis is the substance of what, in this 


case, we plead for; and thus it is delivered in the Scripture, in 
a way bringing more light and spiritual sense into the minds 
of believers, than those philosophical expressions, and distinc- 
tions, which vaunt themselves with a pretence of propriety and 



The reasons why the doctrine of justification, by the imputa- 
tion of the righteousness of Christ, is more fully and clearly de- 
livered in the following writings of the New Testament, than 
it is in those of the Evangelists who wrote the history of the 
life and death of Christ, have been before declared. But yet 
in them also it is sufficiently attested, as to the state of the 
church before the death and resurrection of Christ, which is re- 
presented in them. Some few of the many testimonies which 
may be pleaded out of their writings to that purpose, I shall 

1. The principal design of our blessed Saviour's sermon, 
especially that part of it which is recorded Matt, v., is to declare 
the true nature of righteousness before God. The Scribes and 
Pharisees, from a bondage to whose doctrines he designed to 
vindicate the consciences of those that heard him, placed all 
our righteousness before God in the works of the law, or men's 
own obedience thereto. This they taught the people, and 
hereon they justified themselves, as he charges them, Luke 
xvi. 15. "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men, 
but God knoweth your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed 
among men, is abomination in the sight of God;" as in this 
sermon he makes it evident. And all those who were under 
their conduct, sought to "establish their own righteousness, as 
it were by the works of the law," Rom. ix. 33; x. 3. But yet 
were they convinced in their own consciences, that they could 
not attain to the law of righteousness; or to that perfection of 
obedience which the law required. Yet would they not forego 
their proud, fond imagination of justification by their own 
righteousness, but, as the manner of all men is in the same case, 
soug'it out other inventions to relieve them against their con- 


victions. For to this end, they corrupted the whole law by 
their false glosses and interpretations, to bring down and de- 
base the sense of it, to what they boasted in themselves to per- 
form. So does he in whom our Saviour gives an instance of 
the principle and |)ractice of the whole society, by way of a 
parable, Luke xviii. 10—12. And so the young man aliirmed 
that he had kept the whole law from his youth, namely in 
their sense, Matt. xix. 20. 

To root this pernicious error out of the church, our Lord 
Jesus Christ in many instances, gives the true spiritual sense 
and intention of the law, manifesting what the righteousness is 
wlfich the law requires, and on what terms a man may be jus- 
tified thereby. And among sundry others to the same purpose, 
two things he evidently declares. (1) That the law in its pre- 
cepts and prohibitions had regard to the regulation of the heart, 
with all its first motions and actings. For he asserts, that the 
inmost thoughts of the heart, and the first motions of concu- 
piscence therein, though not consented to, much less actually 
accomplished in the outward deeds of sin, and all the oc- 
casions leading to them, are directly forbidden in the law. 
This he does in his holy exposition of the seventh command- 
ment. (2) He declares the penalty of the law, on the least sin, 
to be hell-fire, in his assertion of causeless anger to be for- 
bidden in the sixth commandment. If men would but try 
themselves by these rules and others there given by our Sa- 
viour, it would, it may be, take them off from boasting in their 
own righteousness and justification thereby. But as it was then, 
so is it now also; the most of them who would maintain a jus- 
tification by works, attempt to corrupt the sense of the law, and 
accommodate it to their own practice. The reader may see au 
eminent demonstration hereof, in a late excellent treatise, whose 
title is, " The Practical Divinity of the Papists discovered to 
be destructive of Christianity and men's souls." The spirit- 
uality of the law, with the severity of its sanction, extending 
itself to the least and most imperceptible motions of sin in the 
heart, are not believed, or not aright considered by them who 
plead for justification by works in any sense. Wherefore the 
principal design of the sermon of our Saviour is, to declare 
what is tlie nature of that obedience which God requires by 
the law, and to prepare the minds of his disciples to seek after 
another righteousness, wliich in the cause and means of it, was 
not yet plainly to be declared, although many of them being 
prepared by the ministry of John hungered and thirst'.-d after it. 


But he sufficiently intimates wherein it consisted, in that he 
affirms of himself, that he came to fulfil the law. What he 
came for, that he was sent for ; for as he was sent, and not for 
himself, (he was born to us, given to us,) this was to fulfil the 
law, that so the righteousness of it might be fulfilled in us. 
And if we ourselves cannot fulfil the law in the proper sense* 
of its commands, which yet is not to be abolished but estab- 
lished, as our Saviour declares; if we cannot avoid the curse 
and penalty of it upon its transgression; and if he came to 
fulfil it for us, all which are declared by himself, then is his 
righteousness, even that which he wrought for us in fulfilling 
the law, the righteousness wherewith we are justified before 
God. And whereas here is a twofold righteousness proposed 
to us, one in the fulfilling of the law by Christ; the other in 
our own perfect obedience to the law, as the sense of it is by 
him declared, and other middle righteousness between them 
there is none; it is left to the consciences of convinced sinners 
which of these they will adhere and trust to. And their direc- 
tion herein is the principal design we ought to have in the 
declaration of this doctrine. 

I shall pass by all those places wherein the foundations of 
this doctrine are surely laid, because it is not expressly men- 
tioned in them. But such they are as in their proper interpre- 
tation do necessarily infer it. Of this kind are all those where- 
in the Lord Christ is said to die for us, or in our stead, to lay 
down his life a ransom for us, or in our stead, and the like; 
but I shall pass them by, because I will not digress at all from 
the present argument. 

But the representation made by our Saviour himself, of the 
way and means whereon and whereby men come to be justi- 
fied before God, in the parable of the Pharisee and the Pub- 
lican, is a guide to all men who have the same design with 
them. Luke xvili. 9 — 14. "And he spake this parable unto 
certain which trusted in themselves, that they were righteous 
and despised others. Two men went up to the temple to pray, 
the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican. The Pharisee 
stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee, that I 
am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or 
even as this Publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes 
of all that I possess. And the Publican standing afar off, would 
not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon 
his breast, saying, God, be merciful unto me a sinner. I tell 
you, that this man went down unto his house justified, rather 



than the otlier. For every one that exalteth himself, sha.i 
be abased ; and every one that humbleth hmiself, shall be ex 

That the design of our Savionr herein was to represent the 
way of our justification before God, is evident. (1) From the 
'description given of the persons whom he reflected on, ver. 9. 
They were such as " trusted in themselves, that they were 
righteous;" or, that they had a personal righteousness of their 
own before God. (2) From the general rule wherewith he 
confirms the judgment he had given concerning the persons de- 
scribed. " Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, and 
he that abaseth himself shall be exalted." As this is applied 
to the Pharisee, and the prayer that is ascribed to him, it de- 
clraes plainly that every plea of our own works, as to our jus- 
tification before God, under any consideration, is a self-exalta- 
tion which God despises; and as applied to the Publican, that 
a sense of sin is the only preparation on our part for acceptance 
with him on believing. • 

Wherefore both the persons are represented as seeking to be 
justified, for so our Saviour expresses the issue of their address 
to God for that purpose: the one was justified, the other was 

The plea of the Pharisee to this end consists of two parts. (1) 
That he had fulfilled the condition whereon he might be justi- 
fied. He makes no mention of any merit, either of congruity, 
or condignity. Only whereas there were two parts of God's 
covenant then with the church, the one with respect to the 
moral, the other with respect to the ceremonial law, he pleads 
the observation of the condition of it in both parts, which he 
shows in instances of both kinds; only he adds the way that 
he took to further him in this obedience, somewhat beyond 
what was enjoined, namely, that he fasted twice in the week. 
For when men begin to seek for righteousness, and justification 
by works, they quickly think their best reserve lies in doing 
something extraordinary more than other men, and more in- 
deed than is required of them. This brought forth all the Phari- 
saical austerities in the papacy. Nor can it be said, that all this 
signified nothing, because he was a hypocrite and a boaster; 
for it will be replied, that it should seem all are so who seek 
for justification by works. For our Saviour only represents one 
that does so; neither are these things laid in bar against his 
justification, but only that he exalted himself in trusting to his 
own righteousness. (2) In an ascription of all that he did to 



God. " God, I thank thee." Although he did all this, yet he 
owned the aid and assistance of God by his grace in it all. He 
esteemed himself much to differ from other men, but ascribed 
it not to himself that so he did. All the righteousness and 
holiness which he laid claim to, he ascribed to the benignity 
and goodness of God. Wherefore he neither pleaded any merit 
in his works, nor any works performed in his own strength, 
without the aid of grace. All that he pretends is, that by the 
grace of God he had fulfilled the condition of the covenant, and 
thereon expected to be justified. And what ever words men 
shall be pleased to make use of in their vocal prayers, God in- 
terprets their minds according to what they trust in, as to their 
justification before him. And if some men will be true to their 
own principles, this is the prayer which, mutatis mutandis, they 
ought to make. 

If it be said, that it is charged on this Pharisee, that he trust- 
ed in himself, and despised others, for which he was rejected, I 
answer, (1) This charge respects not the mind of the person, 
but the genius and tendency of the opinion. The persuasion 
of justification by works, includes in it a contempt of other 
men. For " if Abraham had been justified by works, he should 
have had whereof to glory." (2) Those whom he despised 
were such as placed their whole trust in grace and mercy ; as 
this Publican. It were to be wished that all others of the same 
mind did not so also. 

The issue is with this person, that he was not justified; 
neither shall any one ever be so on the account of his own per- 
sonal righteousness. For our Saviour has told us, "that when 
we have done all," that is, when we have the testimony of our 
consciences to the integrity of our obedience, instead of plead- 
ing it to our justification, we should say, that is, really judge 
and profess, that we are "unprofitable servants," Luke xvii. 10 
As the Apostle speaks, "I know nothing by myself, yet am 1 
not thereby justified," 1 Cor. iv. 4. And he that is "an un- 
profitable servant," and has nothing to trust to but his service, 
will be cast out of the presence of God, Matt. xxv. 30. Where- 
fore, on the best of our obedience to confess ourselves " unpro- 
fitable servants," is to confess, that after all, in ourselves, we 
deserve to be cast out of the presence of God. 

In opposition hereto, the state and prayer of the Publican, 
under the same design of seeking justification before God, are 
expressed. And the outward acts of his person are mentioned, 
as representing and expressive of the inward frame of his 


mind. " He stood afor off;" he " did not so much as hft nj) 
his eyes:" he "smote upon his breast." All of them represent 
a person desponding, yea, despairing in himself This is the 
nature, this is the effect of that conviction of sin, which we be- 
fore asserted to be antecedently necessary to justification. Dis- 
plicency, sorrow, sense of danger, fear of wrath, all are present 
with him. In brief he declares himself guilty before God, and 
his mouth stopped, as to any apology or excuse. And his 
prayer is a sincere application of his soul, to sovereign grace 
and mercy, for a deliverance out of the condition, wherein he 
was by reason of the guilt of sin. And in the use of the word 
i7i.aaxofiM, there is respect had to a propitiation. In the whole 
of his address there is contained (1) Self-condemnation and 
abhorrence. (2) Displicency and sorrow for sin. (3) An uni- 
versal renunciation of all works of his own, as any conditions 
of his justification. (4) An acknowledgment of his sin, guilt, 
and misery. And this is all that on our part is required to jus- 
tification before God, excepting that faith whereby we apply 
ourselves to him for deliverance. 

Some make a weak attempt from hence, to prove that justi- 
fication consists wholly in the remission of sin, because on th( 
prayer of the Publican, for mercy and pardon, he is said to be 
justified; but there is no force in this argument. For (1) The 
whole nature of justification is not here declared, but only what 
is required on our part thereto. The respect of it to the medi- 
ation of Christ, was not yet expressly to be brought to light, as 
was showed before. (2) Although the Publican makes his ad- 
dress to God, under a deep sense of the guilt of sin, yet he 
prays not for the bare pardon of sin, but for all that sovereign 
mercy or grace which God provided for sinners. (3) The 
term of justification must have the same sense, when applied 
to the Pharisee, as when applied to the Publican: and if the 
meaning of it, with respect to the Publican, be, that he was 
pardoned, then has it the same sense with respect to the Pha- 
risee, he was not pardoned; but he came on no such errand; 
he came to be justified, not pardoned; nor does he make the 
least mention of his sin, or any sense of it. Wherefore al- 
though the pardon of sin be included in justification, yet to 
justify, in this place, has respect to a righteousness, whereon a 
man is declared just and righteous, wrapped up on the part of 
the Publican in the sovereign producing cause, the mercy of 

Some few testimonies may be added out of the other Evan- 


gelists, in whom they abound. " As many as received him, 
to tliem gave he power to become the sons of God, even to 
them that beheve on his name," John i. 12. Faitli is express- 
ed by the receiving of Christ. For to receive him, and to be- 
heve on his name, are the same. It receives him as set forth 
of God to be a propitiation for sin, as the great ordinance of 
God, for the recovery and salvation of lost sinners. Where- 
fore this notion of faith inchides in it, (1) A supposition of the 
proposal and tender of Christ to us, for some end and purpose. 
(2) That this proposal is made to us in the promise of the gos- 
pel. Hence, as we are said to receive Christ, we are said to 
receive the promise also. (3) The end for which the Lord 
Christ is so proposed to us, in the promise of the gospel; and 
this is the same with that for which he was so proposed in the 
first promise, namely, the recovery and salvation of lost sin- 
ners, (4) That in the tender of his person, there is a tender 
made of all the fruits of his mediation, as containing the way 
and means of our deliverance from sin, and acceptance with 
God. (5) There is nothing required on our part to an interest 
in the end proposed, but receiving of him, or believing on his 
name. (6) Hereby are we entitled to the heavenly inherit- 
ance; we have power to become the sons of God, wherein our 
adoption is asserted, and justification included. What this re- 
ceiving of Christ is, and wherein it consists, has been declared 
before, in the consideration of that faith whereby we are justi- 
fied. That which hence we argue is, that there is no more 
required to the obtaining of a right and title to the heavenly 
inheritance but faith alone, in the name of Christ, the receiv- 
ing of Christ, as the ordinance of God for justification and sal- 
vation. This gives us, I say, our original right thereto, and 
therein our acceptance with God, which is our justification, 
though more be required to the actual acquisition and posses- 
sion of it. It is said, indeed, that other graces and works are 
not excluded, though faith alone be expressed. But every 
thing which is not a receiving of Christ, is excluded. It is. I 
say, virtually excluded, because it is not of the nature of that 
which is required. When we speak of that whereby we see, 
we exclude no other member from being a part of the body; 
but we exclude all but the eye from the act of seeing. And if 
faith be required, as it is a receiving of Christ, every grace and 
duty which is not so, is excluded as to the end of justification. 
John iii. 14 — 18 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in 
the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that 



whosoever believeth ou him, should not perish, but have eter- 
nal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, should not 
perish, but liave everlasting life. God sent not his Son into 
the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through 
him, might be saved. He that believeth on him, is not con- 
demned; but he that believeth not, is condemned already, be- 
cause he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten 
Son of God." 

I shall observe only a few things from these words, which 
in themselves convey a better liglit of understanding in this 
mystery to the minds of believers, than many long discourses 
of some learned men. (1) It is of the justification of men, and 
their right to eternal life thereon, that our Saviour discourses. 
This is plain in ver. 18. " He that believeth is not condemned, 
but he that believeth not, is condemned already." (2) The 
means of attaining this condition or state on our part, is be- 
lieving only, as it is three times positively asserted, without 
any addition. (3) The nature of this faith is declared, (1) By 
its object, that is, Christ himself the Son of God ; " whosoever 
believeth on him," which is frequently repeated. (2) The es- 
pecial consideration, wherein he is the object of faith to the 
justification of life; and that is as he is the ordinance of God, 
given, sent, and proposed from the love and grace of the 
Father. " God so loved the world, that he gave;" "God sent 
his Son." (3) The especial act yet included in the type, 
whereby the design of God, in him, is illustrated. For this 
was the looking to the brazen serpent lifted up in tlie wilder- 
ness, by them who were stung wifh fiery serpents. Hereto 
our faith in Christ to justification answers, and includes a trust 
in him alone for deliverance and relief. This is the way, these 
are the only causes and means of the justification of condemned 
sinners, and are the substance of all that we plead for. 

It will be said that all this proves not the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ to us, which is the thing principally in- 
quired after: but if nothing be required on our part to justifi- 
cation, but faith acted on Christ, as the ordinance of God for 
our recovery and salvation, it is the whole of what we plead 
for. A justification by the remission of sins alone, without a 
righteousness giving acceptance with God, and a right to the 
heavenly inheritance, is alien to the Scripture and the common 
notion of justification amongst men. And what this righteous- 
ness must be, upon a supposition that faith only, on our part, is 


required to a participutiou of it, is sufFiciently declared in the 
words wherein Christ himself is so often asserted as the object 
of our faith to that purpose. 

Not to add more particular testimonies, which are multiphed 
to the same purpose, in this Evangehst, the sum of the doc- 
trine declared by him, is, that the Lord Jesus Christ was the 
Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world, that is, 
by the sacrifice of himself, wherein he answered and fulfilled 
ail the typical sacrifices of the law: that to this end he sancti- 
fied himself, that those, who believe, might be sanctified, or 
perfected for ever by his own offering of himself: that in the. 
gospel he is proposed, as lifted up and crucified for us, as bear- 
ing all our snis on his body on the tree; that by faith in him, 
we have adoption, justification, freedom from judgment and 
condemnation, with a right and title to eternal life; that those 
who believe not are condemned already, because they believe 
not on the Son of God; and as he elsewhere expresses it, make 
God a liar, in that they believe not his testimony, namely, that 
he has given unto us eternal life ; and that this hie is in his Soji. 
Nor does he any where make mention of any other means,, 
cause, or condition of justification on our part, but faith only, 
though he abounds in precepts to believers for love, and keep- 
ing the commands of Christ. And this faith is the receiving of 
Ciirist, in the sense newly declared. And this is the substance 
of the Christian taith in this matter; which ofttimes we rather 
obscure than illustrate, by debating the consideration of any 
thing in our justification, but the grace and love of God, the 
person and mediation of Christ, with faith in them. 



That the way and manner of our justification before God 
with all tne causes and means of it, are designedly declared by 
the Apostle in the Epistle to the Romans, chap. ni. 4, 5, as also 
vindicated from objections, so as to render his discourse thereon 
the proper seat of this doctrine, and whence it is principally to 


be learned, cannot modestly be denied. Tfie late exceptions 
of some, that this doctrine of jnstification by faith, without 
works, is found only in the writings of Paul, and that his writ- 
ings are obscure and intricate, are both false and scandalous to 
Christianity, so that in this place we shall not afford them tht 
least consideration. He wrote "as he was moved by the Holy 
Ghost." And as all the matter delivered by him was sacred 
truth, which immediately requires our faith and obedience, so 
the way and manner wherein he declared it, was such as the 
Holy Ghost judged most expedient for the edification of the 
church. And as he said himself with confidence, that if the 
gospel which he preached, and as it was preached by him, 
though accounted by them foolishness, was hid, so that they 
could not understand, nor comprehend the mystery of it, it was 
"hid to them that are lost;" so we may say, that if what he 
delivers in particular concerning our justification before God, 
seems obscure, difficult, or perplexed to us, it is from our preju- 
dices, corrupt affections, or weakness of understanding at best, 
not able to comprehend the glory of this mystery of the grace 
of God in Christ, and not from any defect in his way and man- 
ner of the revelation of it. Rejecting therefore all such per- 
verse insinuations, in a due sense of our own weakness, and 
acknowledgment that at best "we know but in part," we shall 
humbly inquire into the blessed revelation of this great mystery 
of the justification of a sinner before God, as by him declared 
in those chapters of his glorious Epistle to the Romans; and I 
shall do it with all possible brevity, so as not on this occasion 
to repeat what has been already spoken, or to anticipate wliat 
may be spoken in a more convenient place. 

The first thing he does, is to prove all men to be under sin, 
and to be guilty before God. This he gives as the conclusion 
of his preceding discourse, from Rom. i. 18, or what he had 
evidently evinced thereby, chap. iii. 19,23. Hereon an inquiry 
arises, how any of them come to be justified before God. And 
whereas justification is a sentence upon the consideration of a 
righteousness, his grand inquiry is, what that righteousness is 
on the consideration whereof a man may be so justified. And 
concerning this, he affirms expressly that it is not the righteous- 
ness of the law, nor of the works of it, whereby what he in- 
tends has been in part before declared, and will be further mani- 
fested in the process of our discourse. Wherefore in general he 
declares, that the righteousness whereby we are justified, is the 
"righteousness of God," in opposition to any righteousness of 


our own, chap. i. 17; iii. 21, 22. And he describes this right- 
eousness of God by three properties. (1) That it is ^^wpij wj//ov, 
" without the law," ver. 21, separated in all its concerns from 
the law; not attainable by it, nor any works of it; which they 
have no influence upon. It is neither our obedience to the law, 
nor attainable thereby. Nor can any expression more separate 
and exclude the works of obedience to the law, from any con- 
cermuent in it, than this doth. Wherefore whatever is, or can 
be performed by ourselves in obedience to the law, is rejected 
from any interest in this righteousness of God, or the procure- 
ment of it to be made ours. (2) That yet it is witnessed unto 
by the law, ver. 21. "The law and the prophets." The Apostle 
by this distinction of the books of the Old Testament, into the 
law and the prophets, manifests that by the law he vmderstands 
the books of Moses; and in them, testimony is given to this 
righteousness of God, four ways. 

(1) By a declaration of the causes of the necessity of it to 
our justification. This is done in the account given of our 
apostasy from God, of the loss of his image, and the state of 
sin that ensued thereon. For hereby an end was put to all 
possibility and hope of acceptance with God, by our own per- 
sonal righteousness. By the entrance of sin, our own right- 
eousness went out of the world; so that there must be another 
righteousness prepared and approved of God, and called the 
righteousness of God, in opposition to our own, or all relation 
of love and favour between God and man must cease for ever. 

(2) In the way of recovery from this state, generally de- 
clared in the first promise of the blessed seed, by whom this 
righteousness of God was to be wrought and introduced; for 
he alone was to " make an end of sin, and to bring in ever- 
lasting righteousness," Dan. ix. 24, tliat righteousness of God, 
that should be the means of the justification of the church ia 
all ages, and under all dispensations. 

(3) By stopping up the way to any other righteousness 
through the threatenings of the law, and that curse which 
every transgression of it was attended with. Hereby it was 
plainly and fully declared, that there must be such a righteous- 
ness provided for our justification before men, as would answer 
and remove that curse. 

(4) In the prefiguration and representation of that only way 
and means, whereby this righteousness of God was to be 
wrought. This it did in all its sacrifices, especially in the 
great anniversary sacrifice on the day of expiation, wherein 


all the sins of the church were laid on the head of the sacrifice^ 
and so carried away. (3) He describes it by the only way of 
our participation of it, the only means on our part of the com- 
munication of it to us. And this is by faith alone. " The 
righteousness of God, which is by the faith of Christ Jesus, 
unto all, and upon all them that believe ; for there is no differ- 
ence," ver. 22. Faith in Christ Jesus is so the only way and 
means, whereby this righteousness of God comes upon us, or 
is communicated to us, that it is so to all that have this faith, 
and only to them, and that without difference on the conside- 
ration of any thing else besides. And although faith taken ab- 
solutely, may be used in various senses, yet as thus specified 
and limited, the faith of Christ Jesus, or as he calls it, " the 
faith that is in me," Acts xxvi. IS, can intend nothing but the 
reception of him, and trust in him, as the ordinance of God for 
righteousness and salvation. 

This description of the righteousness of God revealed in the 
gospel, which the Apostle asserts as the only means and cause 
of our justification before God, with the only way of its parti 
cipation and communication to us by the faith of Christ Jesus, 
fully confirms the truth we plead for. For if the righteousness 
wherewith we must be justified before God be not our own, 
but the righteousness of God, as these things are directly op- 
posed, Phil. iii. 9, and the only way whereby it comes upon 
us, or we are made partakers of it, is by the faith of Jesus 
Christ, then our own personal inherent righteousness or obedi- 
ence has no interest in our justification before God; which 
argument is unanswerable, nor is the force of it to be waived 
by any distinctions whatever, if we keep our hearts to a due 
reverence for the authority of God in his word. 

Having fully proved, that no men living liave any righteous- 
ness of their own, whereby they may be justified, but are all 
shut up under the guilt of sin; and having declared, that there 
is a righteousness of God now fully revealed in the gospel, 
whereby alone we may be so; leaving all men in themselves 
to their own lot, in as much as ''all have sinned and come 
short of the glory of God," he proceeds to declare the nature 
of our justification before God, in all the causes of it. ver. 
24 — 26. " Being justified freely by liis grace through the re- 
demption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to 
be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his 
righteousness for the remission of sins, that are past, through 
the forbearance of God. To declare, I say at this time, his 


righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of them 
that beUeve in Jesus." 

Here it is, that we may, and ought, if any where, to expect 
the interest of our personal obedience under some quahfication 
or other, iji our justification, to be declared. For if it should 
be supposed (which yet it cannot with any pretence of reason) 
that in the foregoing discourse, the Apostle had excluded only 
the works of the law, as absolutely perfect, or as wrought in 
our own strength without the aid of grace, or as meritorious; 
yet having generally excluded all works from our justification, 
ver. 20, without distinction or limitation, it might well be ex- 
pected, and ought to have been so, that upon the full declara- 
tion which he gives us of the nature and way of our justifica- 
tion in all the causes of it, he should have assigned the place, 
and consideration which our own personal righteousness had 
in our justification before God; the first or second, or continua- 
tion of it, somewhat or other; or at least, made some mention 
of it, under the qualification of gracious, sincere, or evangeli- 
cal, that it might not seem to be absolutely excluded. It is 
plain the Apostle thought of no such thing, nor was at all soli- 
citous about any reflection that might be made on his doctrine, 
as though it overthrew the necessity of our own obedience. 
Take in the consideration of the Apostle's design, with the cir- 
cumstances of the context, and the argument from his utter 
silence about our own personal righteousness in our justifica- 
tion before God is unanswerable. But this is not all; we shall 
find in our progress^ thnr it is expressly and directly excluded 
by him. 

All unprejudiced persons must needs think that no words 
could be used more express and empliatical, to secure the wliole 
of our justification to the free grace of God, through the blood, 
or mediation of Christ, wherein it is faith alone that gives us 
an interest, than these used here by the Apostle. And for my 
part, I sliall only say, that I know not how to express myself 
in this matter, in words and terms more express or significant 
of the conception ^f my mind. And if we could all but sub- 
scribe the answer here given by the Apostle; how, by what 
means, on what grounds, or by what causes, are we justified 
before God, namely, that we are "justified freely by his grace, 
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath 
set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood," &c., 
there might be an end of this controversy. 

But the principal passages of this testimony must be distinctly 


considered. (1) The principal efficient cause is first expressed 
with a pecuhar emphasis; "being justified freely by his grace." 
God is the principal efficient cause of our justification, and his 
grace is the only moving cause thereof. 1 shall not stay upon 
the exception of those of the Roman church, namely, tliat by 
trj arap.Tt avrov which their translation renders per gratiam Dei, 
the internal inherent grace of God, which they make the for- 
mal cause of justification, is intended. For they have nothing 
to prove it, but that which overthrows it; namely, that it is 
added to Scopsai' "freely," which were needless, if it signify the 
free grace or favour of God. For both these expressions gratis 
per gratiam, "freely by grace," are put together to give 
the greater emphasis to this assertion, wherein the whole of 
our justification is vindicated to the free grace of God; so far 
as they are distinguishable, the one denotes the principle from 
whence our j ustrfication proceeds, namely, grace; and the 
other, the manner of its operation, it works freely. Besides, 
the " grace of God" in this subject, every where constantly sig- 
nifies his goodness, love, and favour, as has been undeniably 
proved by many. See Rom. v. 15; Eph. ii. 4, 8, 9; 2 Tim. i. 9; 
Tit. iii. 4, 5. 

Being justified h^^tav, so the LXX. render the Hebrew par- 
ticle =ijn "without price," without merit, without cause; and 
sometimes it is used for " without end," that is, what is done 
in vain; as Sup^av is used by the Apostle, Gal. ii. 21, without 
price or reward, Gen. xxix. 15; Exod. xxi. 22; 2 Kings xxiv, 
25; without cause or merit, or any meansof procurement, 1 
Sam. XIX. 5; 2 Sam. xxiv. 24; Psa. Ixix. 4; cii. In this sense 
it is rendered by Swpsav, John xv. 25- The design of the word 
is to exclude all consideration of any thing in us that should be 
the cause or condition of oar justification. Xapi?, favour, abso- 
lutely considered, may have respect to somewhat in him to- 
wards whom it is showed; so it is said that " Joseph found 
grace," or favour x^p^f, in the eyes of Potiphar, Gen. xxix. 4; 
but he found it not 8^piav, " without any consideration " or 
cause ; for he saw that the Lord was with him and made all 
that he did to prosper in his hand, ver. 3. But no words can be 
found out to free our justification before God from all respect 
to any thing in ourselves, (but only what is added expressly 
as the means of its participation on our part, " through faith in 
his blood,") more emphatical than these here used by the 
Apostle; bcj^iav trj avtov xo-^'-fh "freely by his grace." And tp 
those who do not admit this as exclusive of all works or obedi- 


ence of our own, of all conditions, preparations and merit, I shall 
despair of ever expressing my conceptions abont it intelligibly. 

Having asserted this righteonsness of God as the cause and 
means of our justification before him, in opposition to all riglit- 
eousness of our own; and declared the cause of the communi- 
cation of it to us on the part of God, to be mere free sovereign 
grace, the means on our part whereby, according to the ordina- 
tion of God, we receive or are really made partakers of that 
righteousness of God whereon we are justified, is by faith; 6to 
■r>;i rttcrrfwj iv avrov aiuatt ; that is by faith alone. Nothing else 
is proposed, nothing else required to this end. It is replied, 
that there is no intimation that it is by faith «/o??e, or that faith is 
asserted to be the means of our justification exclusively to other 
graces or works. But there is such an exclusion directly in 
eluded in the description given of that faith whereby we are 
justified with respect to its especial object "by fahh in his 
blood." For faith respecting the blood of Christ, as that 
whereb}^ propitiation was made for sin, in which respect alone, 
the Apostle affirms that we are justified through faith, admits 
of no association with any other graces or duties. Neither is 
it any part of their nature to fix on the blood of Christ, for jus- 
tification before God: wherefore they are all here directly ex- 
cluded. And those who think otherwise, may try how they 
can introduce them into this context without an evident cor- 
rupting of it and perverting of its sense. Neither will the 
other evasion yield our adversaries the least relief: namely, 
that by faith not the single grace of faith is intended, but the 
whole obedience required in the new covenant, faith and works 
together. For as all works whatever, as our works, are ex- 
cluded in the declaration of the causes of our justification on 
the part of God, " freely by his grace," by virtue of that great 
rule, Rom. xi. 6, " if it be of grace, then no more of works, 
otherwise gi'ace is no more grace ;" so the determination of the 
object of faith in its act or duty whereon we are justified, 
namely, the blood of Christ, is absolutely exclusive of all works 
from an interest in that duty. For whatever looks to the blood 
of Christ, for justification, is faith and nothing else. And as 
for the calling of it a single act or duty, I refer the reader to 
our preceding discourse about the nature of justifying faith. 

Three tilings the Apostle infers from the declaration he had 
made of the nature and causes of our justification before God, all 
of them farther illustrating the meaning and sense of his words: 

1. That boasting is excluded, Rom. xi. 27. Apparent it is from 



hence, and from what he affirms concerning Abraham, cliap. 
IV. 2, that a great part, at least, of the controversy he had 
about justification, was whether it admitted of any xavxt;iyt.i or 
xavzr;ua boasting, iu those that were justified. And it is known 
that the Jews placed all their hopes in those things whereof 
they thought they could boast, namely their privileges and 
their righteousness. But from the declaration made of the na- 
ture and causes of justification, the Apostle infers that all boast- 
ing whatever is utterly shut out of doors; i^ixxeKjer^. Boasting 
in our language is the name of a vice; and is never used in a 
good sense. But xavxi'^is and xavxr;fia, the words used by the 
Apostle, are of an indifferent signification, and as they are ap- 
plied may denote a virtue as well as a vice. So they do, Heb. iii. 6. 

But always, and in all places, they respect something that is 
peculiar in or to them to whom they are ascribed. Wherever 
any thing is ascribed to one and not to another, with respect to 
any good end, there is fundamentum xavxriasu^, a foundation 
for boasting. All this, says the Apostle in the matter of our 
justification, is utterly excluded. But wherever respect is had 
to any condition or qualification in one more than another, 
especially if it be of works, it gives a ground of boasting, as 
he affirms, chap. iv. 2. And it appears from comparing that 
verse with this, that wherever there is any influence of oui 
own works upon our justification, there is a ground of boast 
ing; but in evangelical justification, no such boasting in any 
kind can be admitted. Wherefore there is no place for works 
in our justification before God: for if there were, it is impossi- 
ble but that a xavxr^fta, in one kind or other before God or man 
must be admitted. 

2. He infers a general conclusion, " that a man is justified 
by faith without the works of the law," verse 28. What is 
meant by the " law," and what by the " works of the laAv" in 
this discourse of the Apostle about our justification, has been 
before declared. And if we are justified freely through faith 
in the blood of Christ, that faith which has the propitiation of 
Christ for its especial object, or as it has so, can take no other 
grace nor duty into partnership with itself therein: and being 
so justified that all such boasting is excluded as necessarily re- 
sults from any diffi^rencing graces or works in ourselves, where- 
in all the works of the law are excluded, it is certain that it is 
by faith alone in Christ that we are justified. All works are 
not only excluded, but the way to their return is so shut up by 
the method of the Apostle's discourse, that all the reinforcements 


which the wit of man can give to them, will never introduce 
them into our justification before God. 

3. He asserts from hence, that " we do not make void the 
law through grace," but establish it, verse 31. How this is 
done, and how alone it can be done, has been before declared. 

This is the substance of the resolution the Apostle gives to 
that great inquiry, how a guilty convinced sinner may come to 
be justified in the sight of God. The sovereign grace of God, 
the mediation of Christ, and faith in the blood of Christ, are all 
that he requires thereto. And whatever notions men may 
have about justification in other respects, it will not be safe to 
venture on any other resolution of this case and inquiry; nor 
are we Aviser than the Holy Ghost. 

Romans, chap, iv. — In the beginning of the fourth chapter 
he confirms what he had before doctrinally declared, by a 
signal instance ; and this was of the justification of Abraham, 
the father of the faithful, whose justification is proposed as the 
pattern of ours, as he expressly declares, verses 22 — 24. And 
some few things I shall observe on this instance in our passage 
to the fifth verse; where I shall fix our discourse. 

1. He denies that Abraham was justified by works, verse 2. 
And (1) These works were not those of the Jewish law, which 
alone some pretend to be excluded from our justification in 
this place. For they were the works he performed some hun- 
dreds of years before the giving of the law at Sinai ; wherefore 
they are the works of his moral obedience to God that are in- 
tended. (2) Those works must be understood which Abraham 
had then, when he is said to be justified, in the testimony pro- 
duced to that purpose ; but the works that Abraham then had, 
were works of righteousness, performed in faith and love to 
God, works of new obedience under the conduct and aids of 
the Spirit of God; works required in the covenant of grace. 
These are the works excluded from the justification of Abra- 
ham. And these things are plain, express, and evident, not to 
be eluded bv any distinctions or evasions. All Abraham's 
evangelical works are expressly excluded from his justification 
before God. 

2. He proves by the testimony of Scripture, declaring the 
nature and grounds of the justification of Abraham, that he 
was justified no other way, but that which he had before de- 
clared, namely, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, verse 3. 
*' Abraham believed God (in the promise of Christ and his me- 
diation) and it was counted unto him for righteousness," ver. 3. 


He was justified by faith in the Avay before described (for 
other justification by faith there is none) in oppositior^ to all 
his own works, and personal righteousness thereby. 

3. From the same testimony he declares how he came to be 
partaker of that righteousness whereon he was justified before 
God, which was by imputation; it was "counted" or imputed 
" to him for righteousness." The nature of the imputation has 
been before declared. 

4. The especial nature of this imputation, namely, that it is 
of grace without respect to works, he asserts and proves, verse 
4, from what is contrary thereto. " Now to him that worketh 
is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." Where 
works are of any consideration, there is no room for that kind 
of imputation whereby Abraham was justified, for it was a 
gracious imputation, and that is not of what is our own ante- 
cedently thereto, but what is made our own by that imputation. 
For what is our own cannot be imputed to us in a way of 
grace, but only reckoned ours in a way of debt. That wliich 
is our own with all the effects of it, is due to us. And therefore 
they who plead that faith itself is imputed to us, to give some 
countenance to an imputation of grace, say it is imputed not 
for what it is, for then it would be reckoned of debt, but for 
what it is not. So Socinus, Cum fides imputatur nobis pro 
jastitia, ideo irnputatur quia nee ipsa fides jnslitia est, nee vera 
in se earn continet. De Servat. part. iv. cap. 2; which kind 
of imputation, being indeed only a false imagination, we have 
before disproved. But all works are inconsistent with thai 
imputation whereby Abraham was justified. It is otherwise 
with him that works, so as thereon to be justified, than it was 
with him. Yea, say some, all works that are meritorious, that 
are performed with an opinion of merit, that make the reward 
to be of debt, are excluded, but other works are not. This 
distinction is not learned from the Apostle. For according to 
him, if this be merit and meritorious, that the reward be reck- 
oned of debt, then all works in justification are so. For with- 
out distinction or limitation he affirms, that "unto him that 
worketh, the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt." 
He does not exclude some sort of works, or works in some 
sense, because they would make the reward of debt, but afiirn}S 
that all would do so to the exclusion of gracious imputation. 
For if the foundation of imputation be in ourselves, imputation 
by grace is excluded. In the fifth verse the sum of the Apos- 
tle's doctrine, which he had contended for, and what he had 


proved, is expressed. " But to him that worketh not, but be- 
Jieveth on iiiin that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted 
for righteousness." It is granted on all hands, that the close 
of the verse " his faith is counted for righteousness," expresses 
the justification of the person intended. He is justified, and 
the way of it is, " his faith is counted" or imputed. Wherefore 
the foregoing words declare the subject of justification, and its 
qualification, or the description of the person to be justified, 
with all that is required on his part thereto. 

And first it is said of him, that he is, o ixrj ipyat^ojxfvoi; " who 
worketh not." It is not required to his justification that he 
should not work, that he should not perform any duties of obe- 
dience to God in any kind, whicli is working. For every per- 
son in the world is always obliged to all duties of obedience, 
according to the light and knowledge of the will of God, the 
means whereof is afforded to him. But the expression is to be 
limited by the subject matter treated of. He who worketh not, 
with respect to justification; though not the design of the per- 
son, but the nature of the thing is intended. To say, " he who 
w^orketh not is justified" through believing, is to say that his 
works whatever they be, have no influence on his justification, 
nor has God in justifying of him any respect to tliem. Where- 
fore he alone who worketh not, is the subject of justification, 
the person to be justified; that is, God considers no man's 
works, no man's duties of obedience in his justification; seeing 
we are justified " freely by his grace." And when God affirms 
expressly, that he justifies him " who worketh not," and that, 
" freely by his grace," I cannot understand what place our 
works or duties of obedience can have in our justification. 
For why should we trouble ourselves to discover of what con- 
sideration they may be in our justification before God, when 
he himself affirms, that they are of none at all ? Neither are 
the words capable of any evading interpretation. " He that 
worketh not," is " he that worketh not," let men say what they 
please, and distinguish as long as they will. And it is a boldness 
not to be justified, for any to rise up in opposition to such ex- 
press divine testimonies, however they may be harnessed with 
philosophical notions and arguings, which are but as thorns and 
briars, which the word of God will pass through and consume. 

But the Apostle further adds in the description of the sub- 
ject of justification, that God "justifieth the ungodly." This is 
that expression which has stirred up so nnich wrath amongst 
many, and on account whereof, some seem to be much dis- 



pleased with the Apostle himself. If any other person dares but 
say that "God justifieth the ungodly," he is presently reflected 
on, as one that by his doctrine would overthrow the necessity 
of godliness, holiness, obedience, or good works. For what 
need can there be of any of them, if God justifies the "un- 
godly?" Howbeit this is a periphrasis of God that he is 
u 6izaiui' Tov d'jttir, " hc that justificth the ungodly." This is his 
prerogative and property, as such will he be believed in and 
worshipped, which adds weight and emphasis to the expres- 
sion. And we must not forego this testimony of the Holy 
Ghost, let men be as angry as they please. 

But the difference is about the meaning of the words. Some 
say, " those who formerly were ungodly, not those who con- 
tinue ungodly when they are justified." And this is most true. 
All that are justified were before ungodly; and all tliat are 
justified are at the same instant made godly. But the ques- 
tion is, whether they are godly or ungodly antecedently in any 
moment of time to their justification; if they are considered as 
godly, and are so indeed, then the Apostle's words are not true, 
"that God justifieth the ungodly;" for the contradictory pro- 
position is true, "God justifieth none but the godly." For 
these propositions, God justifieth the ungodly, and God justi- 
fieth none but the godly, are contradictory. 

Wherefore, although in and with the justification of a sinner, 
he is made godly, for he is endowed with that " faith which 
purifieth the heart," and is a vital principle of all obedience, 
and the conscience is purged from dead works by the blood of 
Christ; yet antecedently to this justification he is ungodly and 
considered as ungodly, as one that " worketh not," as one 
whose duties and obedience contribute nothing to his justifica- 
tion. As he "worketh not," all works are excluded from 
being the causa per quam; and as he is "ungodly," from 
being the causa sine qua non of his justification. 

The qualification of the subject, or the means on the part 
of the person to be justified, and whereby he becomes actually 
so, is faith or believing. " JBut believeth on him who justifieth 
the ungodly." That is, it is faith alone. For it is the faith of 
him who worketh not; and not only so, but its especial object, 
God as justifying the ungodly, is exclusive of the concomitancy 
of any works whatever. This is failh alone, or it is impos- 
sible to express faith alone, without the literal use of that word 
alone. But faith being asserted, in opposition to all works of 
ours, "unto him that worketh not," and its especial nature de- 


clared in its especial object, " God as justifying the ungodly," 
that is, " freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in 
Christ Jesus," no place is left for any works to make the least 
approach towards our justification before God, under the covert 
of any distinction whatever. And the nature of justifying faith 
is here also determined. It is not a mere assent to divine re- 
velations; it is not such a firm assent to them, as should cause 
us to yield obedience to all the precepts of the Scripture, 
though these things are included in it; but it is a believing on, 
and trusting to him that justifieth the ungodly, through the 
mediation of Christ. 

Concerning this person, the Apostle affirms that his "faith is 
counted for righteousness," that is, he is justified in the way 
and manner before declared. But there is a difference about 
the sense of these words. Some say, the meaning of them is, 
that faith as an act, a grace, a duty, or work of ours, is so im- 
puted. We say, that it is faith as it apprehends Christ and 
his righteousness, which is properly imputed to us, that is in- 
tended. So faith, say we, justifies, or is counted for righteous- 
ness relatively, not properly, with respect to its object; and so 
we acknowledge a trope in the words. And this is fiercely 
opposed, as though we denied the express words of the Scrip- 
ture, when yet we do but interpret this expression once only 
used by many others, wherein the same thing is declared. 
But those who are for the first sense, all affirm that faith here 
is to be taken as including obedience or works, either as the 
form and essence of it, or as such necessary concomitaiits as 
have the same influence with it on our justification, or are in 
the same manner the condition of it. But as herein they admit 
also of a trope in the words which they so fiercely blame in 
us, so they give this sense of the whole, " to him that worketh 
not, but believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith 
and works are counted to him for righteousness ;" which is not 
only to deny what the Apostle affirms, but to assign to him a 
plain contradiction. 

And I do a little marvel that any unprejudiced person 
should expound the solitary expression in such a sense, as is 
contradictory to the design of the Apostle, the words of the 
same period, and the whole ensuing context. For that which 
the Apostle proposes to confirmation, which contains his whole 
design, is, that we are justified by the righteousness which is 
of God by faith in the blood of Christ. That this cannot be 
faith itself, shall immediately be made evident; and in the 


words of the text, all works are excluded, if any words be suffi- 
cient to exclude them. But faith absolutely as a single grace, 
act and duty of ours, is a work; much more as it includes obe- 
dience in it, it is all works. And in the ensuing context, he 
proves that Abraliam was not justified by works. But not to 
be justitied by works, and to be justified by some works, (as 
faith itself is a work, and if as such it be imputed to us for 
righteousness, we are justified by it as such) are contradictory. 
Wherefore I shall oppose some few arguments to this feigned 
sense of the Apostle's words. 

1. To belie v^e absolutely, as faith is an act and duty of ours, 
and works, are not opposed; for faith is a work, an especial 
kind of working. But faith as we are justified by it, and 
works, or to work, are opposed ; " to him that worketh not but 
believeth." So Gal. ii. 16; Eph. ii. 8. 

2. It is the righteousness of God that is imputed to us. For 
" we are made the righteousness of God in Christ," 2 Cor. v. 
21. " The righteousness of God upon them that believe," 
Rorn. iii. 21, 22. But faith absolutely considered, is not the 
righteousness of God. God imputes to us "righteousness 
without works," Rom. iv. 6. But there is no intimation of 
a double imputation of two sorts of righteousness, of tire right- 
eousness of God, and that which is not so. Now faith abso- 
lutely considered, is not the righteousness of God. For 

1. That whereto the righteousness of God is revealed, where- 
by we believe and receive it, is not itself the righteousness of 
God. • For nothing can be the cause or means of itself: but the 
righteousness of God is " revealed unto faith," Rom. i. 16. 
And by it is it received, Rom. iii. 22; v. 11. 

2. Faith is not the righteousness of God which is by faith : but 
the righteousness of God which is imputed to us is " the right- 
eousness of God which is by faith," Rom. iii. 22; Phil. iii. 9. 

3. That whereby the righteousness of God is to be sought, 
obtained, and submitted to, is not that righteousness itself. But 
such is faith, Rom. ix. 30, 31: x. 30. 

4. The righteousness which is imputed to us, is not our own 
antecedently to that imputation. " That I may be found in 
him, not having my own righteousness," Phil. iii. 9. But faith 
is a man's own. Show me •'• thy faith," I will show thee "my 
faith," James ii. IS. 

5. God imputes righteousness to us, Rom. iv. 6. And that 
righteousness which God imputes to us, is the righteousness 
whereby we are justified, for it is imputed to us that we may 


be justified. But we are justified by the obedience and blood 
of Christ. *" By the obedience of one we are made righteous," 
Rom. V. 19. " Mucli more now behig justified by his blood," 
ver. 9. " He hath put away sin by the sacrifice of himself," 
Heb. ix. 26. " By liis knowledge shall my righteous servant 
justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities," Isa. liii. 11. 
But faith is neither the obedience, nor the blood of Christ. 

6. Faith, as we said before, is our own. And that which is 
our own may be imputed to us. But the discourse of the Apos- 
tle is about that which ts not our own antecedently to imputa- 
tion, but is made ours thereby, as we have proved; for it is of 
" grace." And the imputation to us of what is really our own 
nntecedently to that imputation, is not of grace in the sense of 
the Apostle. For what is so imputed, is imputed for what it 
IS, and nothing else. For that imputation is but the judgment 
of God concerning the thing imputed, with respect to them 
Avhose it is. So the fact of Phineas was imputed to him for 
righteousness. God judged it, and declared it to be a righteous 
revvardable act. Wheretbre if our faith and obedience be im- 
puted to us, that imputation is only the judgment of God that 
we are believers and obedient. " The righteousness of the 
righteous, (saiih the prophet,) shall be upon him, and the wick- 
edness of the wicked shall be upon him," Ezek. xviii. 20. As 
the wickedness of the wicked is upon him, or is imputed to 
him, so the righteousness of the righteous is upon him, or is 
imputed to him. And the wickedness of the wicked is on him, 
when God judges him wicked as his works are. So is the 
righteousness of a man upon him, or imputed to him, when 
God judges of his righteousness as it is. Wherefore if faith 
absolutely considered, be imputed to us as it contains in itself, 
or as it is accompanied with works of obedience : then it is im- 
puted to us, either for a perfect righteousness which it is not, 
or for an imperfect righteousness which it is; or the imputation 
of it, is the accounting of that to be a perfect righteousness, 
which is but imperfect; but none of these can be affirmed. 

1. It is not imputed to us for a perfect righteousness, the 
righteousness required by the law, for so it is not. Episcopius 
confesses in his disputation, Disput. xlv. § 7, 8, that " the right- 
eousness which is imputed unto us must be absolutissima et 
perfectissima, " most absolute and most perfect." And thence 
he thus defines the imputation of righteousness to us, namely, 
that it is, gratiosa divince mentis cBstimatio, qua credentem in 
Filium suum, eo loco reputat ac si perfecte Justus esset, ac 


legi et voluntati ejus per omnia semper paniisset ; " a gracious 
judgment of the divine mind, by which the believer in Christ 
is regarded as perfectly righteous, as if he had, at all times and 
in all respects, obeyed the law and will of God." And no 
man will pretend, that faith is such a most absolute and most 
perfect righteousness, that by it the righteousness of the law 
should be fulfilled in us, as it is by that righteousness which is 
imputed to us. 

2. It is not imputed to us for what it is, an imperfect right- 
eousness. For (1) This would be of no advantage to us. For 
we cannot be justified before God by an imperfect righteous- 
ness, as is evident in the prayer of the Psalmist, Psa. cxliii. 2. 
" Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight no 
man living, (no servant of thine who has tlie most perfect, or 
highest measure of imperfect righteousness) shall be justified." 
(2) The imputation of any tiling to us, thnt wus oui-s antece- 
dently to that imputation, for what it is, and no more, is con- 
trary to the imputation described by the Apostle, £is has been 

3. This imputation pleaded for cannot be a judging of that 
to be a perfect righteousness which is imperfect. For the judg- 
ment of God is according to truth. But without judging it to 
be such, it cannot be accepted as such. To accept of any thing, 
but only for what we judge it to be, is to be deceived. 

Lastly, if faith, as a work, be imputed to us, then it must be 
as a work wrought in faith. P'or no other work is accepted 
with God. Then must that faith also wherein it is wrought be 
imputed to us; for that also is faith and a good work. That 
therefore must have another faith from whence it must proceed. 
And so 171 injinitum. 

Many other things there are in the ensuing explication of the 
justification of Abraham, the nature of his faith and his right- 
eousness before God, with the application of them to all that 
believe, which may be justly pleaded to the same purpose with 
those passages of the context which we have insisted on. Hut 
if every testimony should be pleaded which the Holy Ghost 
has given to tliis truth, there would be no end of writing. One 
thing more 1 shall observe and put an end to our discourse on 
this chapter. 

Vers. 6 — S. The Apostle pursues his argument to prove the 
freeness of our justification by faith, without respect to works, 
through the imputation of righteousness, in the instance of par- 
don of sin, which essentially belongs thereto. And this he does 


by the testimony of the Psalmist, who places the blessedness of 
a man in the remission of sins. His design is not thereby to 
declare the full nature of justification, which he had done be- 
fore, but only to prove the freeness of it from any respect to 
works in the instance of that essential part of it. " Even as 
David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom 
God imputeth righteousness without works (which was the 
only thing he designed to prove by this testimony) saying, 
Blessed are tUey whose iniquities are forgiven." He describes 
their blessedness by it, not that their whole blessedness consists 
therein; but this concurs to it, wherein no respect can possibly 
be had to any works whatever. And he may justly Irom hence 
describe the blessedness of a man, in that the imputation of 
righteousness, and the non-imputation of sin, (both which the 
Apostle mentions distinctly) wlierein his whole blessedness as 
to justification consists, are inseparable. And because remis- 
sion of sin is the first part of justification, and the principal part 
of it, and has the imputation of righteousness always accom- 
panying it, the blessedness of a man may be well described 
thereby. Yea, whereas all spiritual blessings go together in 
Christ, Eph. i. 3; a man's blessedness may be described by any 
of them. But yet the imputation of righteousness, and the re- 
mission of sin are not the same, no more than righteousness 
imputed, and sin remitted, are the same. Nor does the Apostle 
propose them as the same, but mentions them distinctly, botli 
being equally necessary to our complete justification, as has 
been proved. 

Rom. V. 12 — 21. "Wherefore as by one man sin entered 
into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon 
all men, for that all have siimed. For until the law sin was in 
the world ; but shi is not imputed when there is no law. Never- 
theless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them 
that had not sinned after the simihtude of Adam's transgres- 
sion, who is the figure of him that was to come, lint not as 
the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence 
of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God and the 
gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abound- 
ed unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the 
gift. For the judgment was by one to condemnation; but the 
free gift is of many offences unto justificaiion. For if by one 
man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which 
receive abundance of grace, and of the gilt of righteousness. 


shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the 
offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; 
even so by the rigliteousness of one, the free gift came upon all 
men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience 
many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one, shall 
many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the 
offence might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did 
much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even 
so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, 
by Jesus Christ our Lord." 

The Apostle, Rom. iii. 27, affirms, that in this matter of jus- 
tification, all boasting is excluded. But here in the verse fore- 
going, he grants a boasting. Ov ^ovov 8i 6.%xa xnvx'-^/AeOa iv rw &eu> ; 
"and not only so, but we also glory in God." He excludes 
boasting in ourselves, because there is nothing in us to procure 
or promote our own justification. He allows it us," in God," 
because of the eminency and excellency of the way and means 
of our justification, which in his grace he has provided. And 
the " boasting" in God here allowed us, has a peculiar respect 
to what the Apostle had in prospect further to discourse of. 
"Not only so," includes what he had principally treated of be- 
fore, concerning our justification so far as it consists in the 
pardon of sin. For although he supposes, yea, and mentions 
the imputation of rigliteousness also to us; yet principally he 
declares our justification by the pardon of sin, and our freedom 
from condemnation, whereby all boasting in ourselves is ex- 
cluded. But here he designs a further progress, as to that 
whereon our glorying in God, on a right and title freely given 
us to eternal life, depends. And this is the imputation of the 
righteousness and obedience of Christ to the justification of life, 
or the reign of grace, through righteousness, to eternal life. 

Great complaints have been made by some concerning the 
obscurity of the discourse of the Apostle in this place, by rea- 
son of sundry figures of speech, which either are, or are feigned 
to be therein. Howbeit Icannot but think, that if men acquainted 
with the common principles of Christianity, and sensible in 
themselves of the nature and guilt of our original apostasy from 
God, would without prejudice read tavttjv trjv Ttipio^cr^v t^^ ypot*?;, 
" this place of the Scripture," they will grant that the design 
of the Apostle is to prove, that as the sin of Adam was imput- 
ed to all men to condemnation, so the righteousness and obe- 
dience of Christ is imputed to all that believe to the justification 


of life. The sum of it is given by Theodoret:* " See how the 
tilings which are Christ's are compared with those which are 
Adam's, the medicine with the disease, the plaster with the 
wound, righteousness with sin, the blessing with the curse, 
forgiveness with condemnation, obedience with transgression, 
life with death, a kingdom with hell, Christ with Adam, man 
with man." 

The differences that are among interpreters about the expo- 
sition of these words relate to the use of some particles, prepo- 
sitions, and the dependence of one passage upon another; oil 
none of which the confirmation of the truth pleaded for depends. 
But the plain design of the Apostle, and his express proposi- 
tions are such as, if men could but acquiesce in them, might 
put an end to this controversy. 

Socinus acknowledges that this place of Scripture gives, as 
he speaks, " the greatest occasions" to our opinion in this mat- 
ter: for he cannot deny, but, at least, a great appearance of 
what we believe is represented in the words of the Apostle. 
He therefore uses his utmost endeavour to wrest and deprave 
them: and yet, although most of his artifices are since trans 
ferred into the annotations of others upon the place, he himself 
produces nothing material, but what is taken out of Origen, and 
the comment of Pelagius on this epistle, which is extant in the 
works of Jerome, and was urged before him by Erasmus. The 
substance of what he pleads for is, " that the actual transgres- 
sion of Adam is not imputed to his posterity, nor a depraved 
nature from thence communicated to tiiem. Only whereas he 
had incurred the penalty of death, all that derive their nature 
from him in that condition are rendered subject to death also. 
And as for that corruption of nature which Is In us, or a prone- 
ness to sin, it is not derived from Adam, but Is a habit con- 
tracted by many continued acts of our own. So also on the 
other hand, that the obedience or righteousness of Christ Is not 
imputed to us. Only when we make ourselves to become his 
children by our obedience to him; he having obtained eternal 
life for himself by his obedience to God, we are made par- 
takers of the benefits thereof" This Is the substance of his 
long disputation on this subject, De Servator. lib. Iv. cap. 6. 
But this Is not to expound the words of the Apostle, but ex- 

* Vide quomodo quse Christi sunt cum iis qufe sunt Adami conferantur, 
cum morbo medicina, cum vulnere emplastrum, cum peccato justitia, cum 
execratione benedictio, cum condemnatione remissio, cum transgressione 
obedientia, cum morte vita, cum inferis regnum, Christus cum Adam, homo 
cum homioe. Dial. iii. 



pressly to contradict them, as we shall see in the ensuing con- 
sideration of them. 

I intend not an exposition of the whole discourse of the Apos- 
tle, but only of those passages in it which evidently declare 
the way and manner of our justification before God, 

A comparison is here proposed and pursued between the 
first Adam, by whom sin was brougiit into the world, and the 
second Adam, by whom it was taken away. And a compari- 
son it is 6x Tov ivavTiov, of things contrary, wherein there is a 
simiHtude in some things, and a dissimilitude in others, both 
sorts illustrating the truth declared in it. The general propo- 
sition of it is contained in ver. 12 : "As by one man sin entered 
into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all 
men, for that all have sinned." The entrance of sin and punish- 
ment into the world, was "by one man;" and that " by one" 
sin as he afterwards declares. Yet were they not confined to 
the person of that one man, but belonged equally to all. This 
the Apostle expresses, inverting the order of the effect and 
cause. In the entrance of it, he first mentions the cause or sin, 
and then the effect or punishment, " By one man sin entered into 
the world, and death by sin;" but in the application of it to all 
men, he expresses first the effect, and then the cause; "death 
passed on all men, for that all have sinned." Death, on the 
first entrance of sin, passed on all ; that is, all men became liable 
and obnoxious to it, as the punishment due to sin. All men 
that ever were, are, or shall be, were not then existent in their 
own persons. But yet were they all of them, then, upon the 
first entrance of sin, made subject to death, or liable to punish- 
ment. They were so by virtue of divine constitution upon their 
federal existence in the one man that sinned. And actually they 
became obnoxious in their own persons to the sentence of it, 
upon their first natural existence, being born children of wrath. 

It is hence manifest what sin it is that the Apostle intends, 
namely, the actual sin of Adam; the one sin of that one com- 
mon person whilst he was so. For although the corruption and 
depravation of our nature, necessarily ensues thereon, in every 
one that is brought forth actually in the world by natiu'al ge- 
neration; yet is it the guilt of Adam's actual sin alone, that ren- 
dered them all obnoxious to death upon the first entrance of 
sin into the world. So death entered by sin, the guilt of it, oh- 
noxiousness to it, and that with respect to all men universally. 

Death here comj)rises the whole punishment due to sin, be it 
what it will, concerning which we need not here to dispute. 


" The wages of sin is death," Rom. vi. 23, and nothing else. 
Whatever sin deserves in the justice of God, whatever punish- 
ment God at any time appointed or threatened to it, it is com- 
prised in death: "In tlie day thou eatest thereof, thou shaltdie 
the death." This therefore the Apostle lays down as the foun- 
dation of his discourse, and of the comparison which he intends; 
namely, that in and by the actual sin of Adam, all men are 
made liable to death, or to the whole punishment due to sin 
That is, the guilt of that sin is imputed to them. For nothing 
is intended by the imputation of sin to any, but the rendering 
them justly obuoxioas to the punishment due to that sin; as 
the not imputing of sin is the freeing of men from being subject 
or liable to punishment. And this sufficiently evidences the 
vanity of the Pelagian gloss that death passed upon all, merely 
by virtue of natural propagation from him who had deserved 
it, without any imputation of the guilt of sin to them; which is 
a contradiction to the plain words of the Apostle. For it is the 
guilt of sin, and not natural propagation, that he affirms to be 
the cause of death. 

Having mentioned sin and death, the one as the only cause 
of the other, the guilt of sin, of the punishment of death, sin de- 
serving nothing but death, and death being due to nothing but 
sin, he declares how all men universally became liable to this 
punishment, or guilty of death, s^' i navre^ r^uopro;/, in quo omnes 
peccaverunt ; "in wliom all have sinned." For it relates to 
the one man that sinned, in whom all sinned; which is evident 
from the etfect thereof, in as much as "in him all died," 1 Cor. 
XV. 22. Or, as it is here, on his sin " death passed on all men.'* 
And this is the evident sense of the words, frti being put for €v, 
which is not unusual in the Scripture. See Matt. xv. 5; Rom. 
iv. IS; V. 2; Phil. i. 3; Heb. ix. 17. And it is so often used by 
the best writers in the Greek tongue : so Hesiod fisrpov 6' £«» 
rtasij/ apiotov, modus 171 omnibus rebus optinius. So t^' vfitv 
tativ, in vobis situm est, rovro trt' «|iioi xfttat, hoc in me situm est. 
And this reading of the words is contended for by Austin 
against the Pelagians, rejecting their eo quod or provterea. 
But I shall not contend about the reading of the words. It 
is the artifice of our adversaries to persuade men, that the 
force of our argument to prove from hence the imputation of 
the sin of Adam to his posterity, depends solely upon interpret- 
ing these words, fy' <j, " in whom." We shall therefore grant 
them their desire, that they are better rendered by eo quad, 
projjterea, or qualenus ; '^ in as much as," "because." Only 


we must say, that here is a reason given, why "death passed 
on all men, in as much as all have sinned," that is, in that sin 
whereby death entered into the world. 

It is true. Death by virtue of the original constitution of the 
law, is due to every sin, whenever it is committed. But the 
present inquiry is, how death passed at once on all men, how 
they came liable and obnoxious to it upon its first entrance by 
the actual sin of Adam; which cannot be by their own actualsin. 
Yea, the Apostle in the next verses affirms, that death passed on 
them also, who never sinned actually, or as Adam did, whose sin 
was actual. And if the actual sins of men in imitation of Adam's 
sin were intended, then should men be made hable to death, 
before they had sinned. For death upon its first entrance into 
the world, passed on all men, before any one man had actually 
sinned, but Adam only. But that men should be liable to 
death, which is nothing but the pimishment of sin, when they 
have not sinned, is an open contradiction. For although 
God by his sovereign power might inflict death on an innocent 
creature, yet that an innocent creature should be guilty of 
death is impossible. For to be guilty of death, is to have sinned. 
Wherefore this expression, " in as much as all have siinied," 
expressing the desert and guilt of death, at that time when sin 
and death first entered into the world, no sin can be intended 
in it, but the sin of Adam, and our interest therein; eramus 
enhn omnes ille unus homo. And this can be no otherwise, 
but by the imputation of the guilt of that sin to us. For the 
act of Adam not being ours inherently and subjectively, we 
cannot be concerned in its eflect, but by the imputation of its 
guilt. For the communication of that to us which is not in- 
herent in us, is that which we intend by imputation. 

This is the rtpota^tj of the intended comparison, which I have 
insisted the longer on, because the Apostle lays in it the foun- 
dation of all that he afterwards infers, and asserts in the whole 
comparison. And here some say there is an aiavtoTtobatov in 
his discourse, that is, he lays down the proposition on the part 
of Adam, but does not show what answers to it on the con- 
trary in Christ. And Origen gives the reason of the silence of 
the Apostle herein, namely, " Lest what is to be said therein, 
should be abused by any to sloth and negligence." For 
whereas he says w^^fp, "as," which is a note of similitude, "by 
one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;" so the 
drto6o(Ti5 or reddition should be, " So, by one, righteousness en- 
tered into the world, and life by righteousness." 


This he acknowledges to be the genuine filling up of the 
comparison, but it was not expressed by the Apostle, " Lest men 
should abuse it to negligence or security," supposing that to 
be done already, which should be done afterwards. But as 
this plainly contradicts and averts most of what he further as- 
serts in the exposition of the place; so the Apostle concealed 
not any truth upon such considerations. And as he plainly 
expresses that which is here intimated, verse 19, so he shows 
how foolish and wicked any such imaginations are, as suppose 
that any countenance is given hereby to any to indulge them- 
selves in their sins. 

Some grant, therefore, that the Apostle conceals the expres- 
sion of what is ascribed to Christ, in opposition to what he 
had atiirmed of Adam and his sin, to ver. 19. But the truth is, it 
is sufficiently included in the close of ver. 14, where he affirms of 
Adam, that in those things whereof he treats, he " was the figure 
of him that was to come." For the way and manner whereby 
he introduced righteousness and life, and communicated them 
to men, answered the way and manner whereby Adam intro- 
duced sin and death which passed on all the world. Adam 
being the figure of Christ, look how it was with him, with re- 
spect to his natural posterity as to sin and death ; so it is with 
the Lord Christ, the second Adam and his spiritual posterity, 
with respect to righteousness and life. Hence we argue, 

If the actual sin of Adam was so imputed to all his poste- 
rity, as to be accounted their own sin to condemnation, then 
is the actual obedience of Christ, the second Adam, imputed 
to all his spiritual seed, that is, to all believers, to justification. 
I shall not here further press this argument, because the ground 
of it will occur to us afterwards. 

The two next verses containing an objection and an answer 
returned to them, wherein we have no immediate concernment, 
1 shall pass by. 

Verses 15, 16. The Apostle proceeds to explain his compa- 
rison in those things, wherein there is a dissimilitude between 
the things conipared. 

" But not as the offence, so is the free gift; for if through the 
offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, 
and the gift by grace, by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded 
unto many." 

The opposition is between jtaparttwuo on the one hand, and 
xaoiafxa. on the other; between which, a dissimilitude is asserted, 
not as to their opposite effects of death and hfe, but only as to the 



degL'ees of their efficacy, with respect to those effects, napartrc^jua, 
"the offence, the fall, tlie sin, t[ie transgression;" that is tov 
ii/oj rtapazoj;, " the disobedicnce of one," verse 19. Hence the 
first sin of Adam, is generally called the fall, to rtopartru/ua. 
That which is opposed hereto, is ro x°^<-oi^o-'i donu?n, donum 
gratuitum, benejicium, id quod Deiis gratificalur ; that is. 

;^opi.5 Toxj ©£ov, xa.L 6copfa iv ;jjapi.ri tr^ rov ivo^ afgpwrtov Ijjoou Xpt^fov, 

as it is immediately explained; " the grace of God, and the 
free gift by grace, througli Jesus Christ." Wherefore, although 
this word, in the next verse, precisely signifies the righteous- 
ness of Christ, yet here it comprehends all the causes of our 
justification, in opposition to the fall of Adam, and the entrance 
of sin thereby. 

The consequence and effect tov HapaTtti^/iatoi of the offence, 
the fall, is, that " many be dead." No more is here intended 
by many, but only that the effects of that one offence were not 
confined to one: and if we inquire who, or how many those 
many are, the Apostle tells us, that they are "all men" univer- 
sally, that is, all the posterity of Adam. By this one offence, 
because they all sinned, therein they are all dead; that is, ren- 
dered obnoxious and liable to death, as the punishment due to 
that one offence. And hence also it appears, how vain it is to 
wrest those words of ver. 12, "In as much as all have sinned," 
to any other sin, but the first sin in Adam; seeing it is given 
as the reason why death passed on them, it being here plainly 
affirmed, that they are dead, or that death passed on them by 
that one offence. 

The efficacy tov xo^io/xatoi, of the "free gift," opposed here- 
to, is expressed, as that which "abounded much more." Be- 
sides the thing itself asserted, which is plain and evident, the 
Apostle seems to me to argue the equity of our justification by 
grace, through the obedience of Christ, by comparing it with 
the condemnation that betel us by the sin and disobedience of 
Adam. For if it v/ere just, meet, and equal that all men should 
be made subject to condenmation for the sin of Adam; it is 
much more so, that those who believe, should be justified bv 
the obedience of Christ, through the grace and free donation of 
God. But wherein, in particular, the gift by grace abovmded 
to many, above the efficacy of the fall to condemn, he declares 
afterwards. And, that whereby we are freed from condemna- 
tion, more eminently than we are made obnoxious to it by the 
fall and sin of Adam, by that alone we are justified before 
God. But this is by the grace of God, and the gift by grace, 


through Jesus Christ alone, which we plead for, ver. 16. An- 
other dift'erence between the tilings compared is expressed, or 
rather the instance is given in particular of the dissimilitude 
asserted in general before. 

" And uot as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift ; for 
the judgment was by one to condemnation; but the free gift 
is of many oifences unto justification." 

At' £foj a^apr;;5arroj, " by ouc that sinucd," is the same with 
Si* tvos napartrwftaroj, " by 0116 sin, oue offence," the one sin of 
that one man. Kpt;Utt, we render "judgment." Most inter- 
preters do it by reatus, guilt, or crimen, which is derived from 
it. So nfjs'D judicium, is used in the Hebrew for guilt, Jer. 
xxvi. 11. " TJie judgment of death is to this man," this man 
is guilty of death, has deserved to die. First therefore there 

was rtapaTiroifia "the sill, the fall," tov ivoi ajxafirriisavtoi "of one 

man that sinned," it was his actual sin alone. Thence follow- 
ed xp(>ia, reatus, " guilt;" this was common to all. In and by 
that one sin, guilt came upon all. And the end hereof, that 
which it rendered men obnoxious to, is xataxpifia, " condemna- 
tion:" "guilt to condemnation;" and this guilt to condemna- 
tion which came upon all, was s'l tvoi " of one" person, or sin. 
This is the order of things on the part of Adam. (1) naparttu^a. 
the one sin. (2) Kpt^a tlie guilt that thereon ensued to all. (3) 
Kataxpvfia the Condemnation which that guilt deserved. And 
their antitheta or opposites in the second Adam, are (1) ^japiajwa 
the free donation of God. (2) Awp>;;ua the gift of grace itself, or 
the righteousness of Christ. (3) Aizatw^ua or ^ixanoat,? fwjjs, jus- 
tification of life. But yet though the Apostle thus distinguishes 
these things to illustrate his comparison and opposition, yet 
that which he intends by them all, is the righteousness and 
obedience of Christ, as he declares, ver. 18, 19. This in the 
matter of our justification, he (1) calls Xapiana with respect to 
the free gratuitous grant of it by the grace of God, Aupia tr^i 
xapi'tor, and (2) Aupjj^ua with respect to us who receive it: a 
free gift it is to us; and (3) Aixatw^ua, with respect to its effect 
of making us righteous. 

Whereas therefore, by the sin of Adam imputed to them, 
" guilt came on all men unto condemnation," we must inquire 
wherein the free gift was otherwise. " Not as by one that 
sinned, so was the gift." And it was so in two things: for (1) 
condemnation came upon all by one offence. But being under 
the guilt of that one offence, we contract the guilt of many 
more, innumerable. Wherefore if the free gift had respect 


only to that one offence, and extended itself no further, we 
could not be delivered; wherefore it is said to be of " many 
offences," that is, of all our sins and trespasses wliatever. (2) 
Adam and all his posterity in him, were in a state of accept- 
ance with God, and placed in a way of obtaining eternal life 
and blessedness, wherein God himself would have been their 
reward. In this estate by the entrance of sin, they lost the 
favour of God, and incurred the guilt of death or condemna- 
tion, for they are the same. But they lost not an immediate 
right and title to life and blessedness. For this they had not, 
nor could have before the course of obedience prescribed to 
them was accomplished. That therefore, which came upon 
all by the one ofi^nce, was the loss of God's favour in the ap- 
probation of their present state, and the judgment or guilt of 
death and condemnation. But an immediate right to eternal 
life by that one sin was not lost. The free gift is not so. For 
as by it we are freed, not only from one sin, but from all our 
sins,' so also by it we have a right and title to eternal life. For 
therein " grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life," 
ver. 22. 

The same truth is further explained and confirmed, ver. 1 7. 
<' For if by one man's offence death reigned by one, much more 
they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of right- 
eousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." The design 
of the Apostle having been sufficiently manifested in our ob- 
servations on the former verses, I shall from this only observe 
those things which more immediately concern our present sub- 
ject. And (1) it is worth observation, with what variety of 
expressions the Apostle set forth the grace of God in the justi- 
fication of believers. Atxatw/xa, 6top;f;tia, ;tapij, xo^i"''^!-^^} rtiptaano. 

a:a()(.roj, Scopfa tr]i Sixaimwriu Nothing is omitted that may any 
way express the freeness, sufficiency, and efficacy of grace to 
tliat end. And although these terms seem some of them to be 
coincident in their signification, and to be used by him promis- 
cuously, jAot every one includes something that is peculiar, and 
all of theni set forth the Avhole work of grace. Atzatw^tt seems 
to me to be used in this argument for 6ix«.i.o\oyr;fia, which is the 
foundation of a cause in trial, the matter pleaded, whereon the 
person tried is to be acquitted and justified. And this is the 
righteousness of Christ, "of one." Awp^,ua, or a free donation 
is exclusive of all desert and conditions on our part, who re- 
ceive it. And it is that whereby we are freed from condemna- 
tion, and have a riglit to the justification of life. Xa,Hj is the 


free grace and favour of God, which is the original or efficient 
cause of our justification, as was declared chap. iii. 23. Xapw^uo 
has been explained before, nfptaoata ;^ttptroj " the abundance 
of grace," is added to secure believers of the certainty of the 
effect. It is that whereto nothing is wanting to our justifica- 
tion. Aopfa fyji SLXMoiyvvrji cxprcsscs the free grant of that right- 
eousness which is imputed to us to the justification of life, 
afterwards called the obedience of Christ. Be men as wise 
and learned as they please, it becomes us all to learn to think 
and speak of those divine mysteries from this blessed Apostle, 
who knew them better than we all, and, besides, wrote by 
divine inspiration. 

And it is marvellous to me, how men can break through the 
fence that he has made about the grace of God, and obedience 
of Christ in the work of our justification before God, to intro- 
duce their own works of obedience, and to find a place for them 
therein. But the design of Paul and that of some men in declar- 
ing this point of our justification before God, seem to be very 
opposite and contrary. His whole discourse is concerning the 
grace of God, the death, blood, and obedience of Christ, as if 
he could never sufficiently satisfy himself in the setting out and 
declaration of them, without the least mention of any works or 
duties of our own, or the least intimation of any use that they 
are of herein. But all their pleas are for their own works and 
duties; and they have invented as many terms to set them out 
by, as the Holy Ghost has used for the expression and declara- 
tion of the grace of God. Instead of the words of wisdom be- 
fore mentioned, which the Holy Ghost has taught, wherewith 
he fills up his discourse, theirs are filled with conditions, pre- 
paratory dispositions, merits, causes, and I know not what 
trappings for our own works. For my part I shall choose 
rather to learn of him, and accommodate my conceptions and 
expressions of gospel mysteries, and of this, in especial, con- 
cerning our justification, to his who cannot deceive me; than 
trust to any other conduct, how specious soever its pretences 
may be. 

2. It is plain in this verse that no more is required of any 
one to justification, but that he receive " the abundance of grace 
and the gift of righteousness." For this is the description that 
the Apostle gives of those that are justified, as to any thing 
that on their part is required. And as this excludes all works 
of righteousness which we do; for by none of them do we re- 
ceive the abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness; so 


it does also the imputation of faith itself to our justification, as 
it is an act and duty of our own; for faith is that whereby we 
receive the gift of righteousness, by which we are justified. 
For it will not be denied, but that we are justified by the gift 
of righteousness, or the righteousness which is given to us; for 
by it have we right and title to life. But our faith is not this 
gift; for that which receives, and that which is received, are not 
the same. 

3. Where there is rtepi'saiia ;^aptroc, and X'^'^^ vTtfpTCipLaaivovaa, 

" abounding grace, superabounding grace," exerted in our jus- 
tification, no more is required thereto. For how can it be said 
to abound, yea, to superabound, not only to the freeing of us 
from condemnation, but the giving of us a title to life, if in any 
thing it is to be supplied, and eked out by works and duties of 
our own? The things intended fill up these expressions, al- 
though to some they are but an empty noise. 

4. There is a gift of righteousness required to our justifica- 
tion, which all must receive who are to be justified. And all 
are justified who do receive it; for they that receive it, shall 
'' reign in life by Jesus Christ." And hence it follows, (1) that 
the righteousness whereby we are justified before God, can be 
nothing of our own, nothing inherent in us, nothing performed 
by us. For it is that which is freely given us, and this dona- 
tion is by imputation. " Blessed is the man unto whom the 
Lord imputeth righteousness," chap. iv. 6. And by faith we 
receive what is so given and imputed, and otherwise we con- 
tribute nothing to our participation of it. This it is to be "justi- 
fied" in the sense of the Apostle. (2) It is such a righteous- 
ness as gives right and title to eternal life. For they that 
receive it " shall reign in life." Wherefore it cannot consist in 
the pardon of sin alone. For (1) the pardon of sin can in no 
tolerable sense be called "the gift of righteousness." Pardon of 
sin is one thing, and righteousness another. (2) Pardon of sin 
does not give right and title to eternal life. It is true, he whose 
sins are pardoned, shall hiherit eternal life; but not merely by 
virtue of that pardon, but through the imputation of righteous- 
ness, which inseparably accompanies it, and is the ground of it. 

The description which is here given of our justification by 
grace in opposition to the condemnation, that we were made 
liable to by the sin of Adam, and in exaltation above it, as to 
the efficacy of grace above that of the first sin, in that thereby 
not one but all sins are forgiven, and not only so, but a right 
to life eternal is communicated to us, is this, That we receive 


the grace of God, and the gift of righteousness, which gives us 
a right to hfe by Jesus Christ. But this is to be justified by the 
imputation of the righteousness of Christ received by faith alone. 

The conclusion of what has been evinced in the manage- 
ment of the comparison insisted on, is fully expressed and 
further confirmed in verses 18, 19. 

Verse 1 S. " Therefore as by the offence of one judgment 
came upon all men unto condemnation, even so by the right- 
eou^iess of one, the free gift came upon all men unto the 
justification of life." So we read the words. " By the of- 
fence of one ;" the Greek copies vary here. Some read tu> ivt. 
rtapartrco^an, whom Beza follows, and our translation in the 
margin; "by one offence;" most by ru tov Ji/oj rtapartrw^an, 
" by the offence of one ;" and so afterwards as to righteousness ; 
but both are to the same purpose. For the one offence in- 
tended, is the offence of one, that is, of Adam: and the one 
righteousness, is the righteousness of one, Jesus Christ. 

The introduction of this assertion by apa ow, the note of a 
syllogistical inference, declares what is here asserted to be the 
substance of the truth pleaded for. And the comparison is con- 
tinued, wj " so, after the same manner." 

That which is affirmed on the one side, is 6t' Ivo^ Hapartiuixato^ 
11? Ttavta? avdpuiTcov; eii xaraxpi^wo ,* " by the siii or fall of oue, on 
all men unto condemnation," that is, judgment, say we, repeat- 
ing xpcy-a from the foregoing verse. But xpi^ia uj xataxpi^a is 
guilt, and that only. By the sin of one, all men became guilty, 
and were made obnoxious to condemnation. The guilt of it 
is imputed to all men. For no otherwise can it come upon 
them to condemnation, no otherwise can they be rendered 
obnoxious to death and judgment on account thereof. For 
we have evinced that by death and condemnation in this 
disputation of the Apostle, the whole punishment due to 
sin is intended. This therefore is plain and evident on that 

In answer hereto, the ficxaw^a of one as to the causality of 
justification, is opposed to the rtapartto^fia of the other, as to its 
causality to, or of condemnation. Ai' ho? 6ixcuu,fiaroi, " By the 
righteousness of one:" that is, the righteousness that is plead- 
able £K 8cxai.oi(S(,v to justification. For that is Sixaiiona a right- 
eousness pleaded for justification. By this, say our translators, 
" the free gift came upon all;" repeating 3;api(5^a from the fore- 
going verse, as they had done xpi/xa before on the other hand. 
The Syriac translation renders the words without the aid of 


any supplement : " Therefore as by the sin of one, condemna 
tion was unto ail men, so by the righteousness of one, justiti 
cation unto life shall be unto all men." And the sense of the, 
words is so made plahi without the supply of any other word 
into the next. But whereas in the original the words are not 

xaraxfitixa stj rtactaj avBpurtovi, DUt fij rtavta^ av&ynoTtovi ttj xafaxpt-jxa., 

and so in the latter clause, somewhat from his own foregoing 
words is to be supplied to answer the intention of the Apostle. 
And this is ;^apW|Ua gratiosa donatio, the free grant of righteous- 
ness; or 8up>7fta the free gift of righteousness unto justification. 
The righteousness of one, Christ Jesus, is freely granted to all 
believers to the justification of life. For the "all men" here 
mentioned are described by, and limited to them that "receive 
the abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness by Christ," 
verse 17. 

Some vainly pretend from hence a general grant of right- 
eousness and life to all men, whereof the greatest part are 
never made partakers; than which nothing can be more oppo- 
site nor contradictory to the Apostle's design. Men are not 
made guilty of condemnation from the sin of Adam, by such a 
divine constitution, as that they may, or on some conditions 
may not be obnoxious thereto. Every one so soon as he ac- 
tually exists, and by virtue thereof, is a descendant from the 
first Adam, is actually in his own person liable thereto, and 
the wrath of God abides on him. And no more are intended 
on the other side, but those only who by their relation through 
faith to the Lord Christ, the second Adam, are actually inter- 
ested in the justification of life. Neither is the controversy 
about the universality of redemption by the death of Christ 
herein concerned. For those by whom it is asserted, do not 
affirm that it is thence necessary that the free gift to the justi- 
fication of life should come on all, for that they know it does 
not do. And of a provision of righteousness and life for men 
in case they believe, although it be true, yet nothing is spoken 
in this place. Only the certain justification of them that believe, 
and the way of it is declared. Nor will the analogy of the 
comparison here insisted on, admit of any such interpretation. 
For the all on the one hand are all, and only those who derive 
tlieir being from Adam by natural propagation. If any man 
might be supposed not to do so, he would not be concerned in 
his sin or fall. And so really it was with the man Christ 
Jesus. And those on the other hand, are only those who derive 
a spiritual life from Christ. Suppose a man not to do so, and 


he is no way interested in the righteousness of one to the jus- 
tification of hfe. Our argument from the words is this: As 
the sin of one that came on all to condemnation, was the sin 
of the first Adam imputed to them, so the righteousness of the 
one to justification of life that comes on all believers, is the 
righteousness of Christ imputed to them. And what can be 
more clearly affirmed or more evidently confirmed than this is 
by the Apostle, 1 know not. Yet is it more plainly expressed, 
verse 1 9. " For as by one man's disobedience many were 
made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made 

This is well explained by Cyrillus Alexandrinus.* "As by 
the transgression of the first man, in the origin of our race, we 
were doomed to death, so by the obedience and righteousness 
of Christ, inasmuch as he subjected himself to the law, of 
which he himself was the author, blessing and vivification 
through the Spirit have reached to our whole nature." And 
by Leo.t " In order to restore life to all, he undertook the 
cause of all, that as by the guilt of one, all have been made 
sinners, so by the innocence of one, all might be made inno- 
cent; that righteousness might flow to men from him who 
assumed the nature of man." 

That which he before called ^tapa^rco^a and gixaiw^ua he now 
expresses by Ttapaxor, and vjtaxorj, " disobedience and obedience." 
The rtapaxot} of Adam or his disobedience was his actual trans- 
gression of the law of God. Hereby, saith the Apostle, " many 
were made sinners;" sinners in such a sense as to be obnoxi- 
ous to death and condemnation. For liable to death they 
could not be made, unless they were first made sinners or 
guilty. And this they could not be, but that they are esteemed 
to have sinned in him, whereon the guilt of his sin was im- 
puted to them. This therefore he affirms, namely, that the 
actual sin of Adam was so the sin of all men, as that they 
were made sinners thereby, obnoxious to death and condem- 

* Quemadmodum praevaricatione primi hominis ut in primitiis generis 
nostri,mortiaddicti fuimus; eodem modo per obedientiam etjustitiam Christi, 
in quantum seipsum legi subjecit, quamvis legis author asset, benedictio et 
vivificatio quse per Spiritum est, ad totam nostram penetravit naturam. In 
Joan. lib. 11. cap. 25. 

"i; Ut autem reparet omnium vitam, recepit omnium causam ; ut sicut per 
unius reatum omnes facti fuerunt peccatores, ita per unius innocentiam 
omnes fierent innocentes ; inde in homines manaret justitia, ubi est humana 
Buscepta natura. Epist. 12. ad Juvenalem. 



That which he opposes hereto, is ij vrtaxor; " the obedience 
of one," that is, of Jesus Christ. And this was the actual 
obedience tliat he yielded to the whole law of God. For as 
the disobedience of Adam was his actual transgression of tlie 
whole law; so the obedience of Christ was his actual accom- 
plishment or fulfilling of the whole law. This the antithesis 

Hereby '• many are made righteous." How ? By the impu- 
tation of that obedience to them. For so and no otherwise, 
are men made sinners by the imputation of the disobedience of 
Adam. And this is that which gives us a right and title to 
eternal life; as the Apostle declares, verse 21. "That as sin 
reigned unto death; so might grace reign through righteous- 
ness unto eternal life." This righteousness is no other but the 
" obedience of one," that is, of Christ, as it is called, verse 18. 
And it is said to "come upon" us, that is, to be imputed to 
us; for blessed is the man to whom God imputeth righteous- 
ness. And hereby we have not only deliverance from that 
death and condemnation whereto we were liable by the sin of 
Adam, but the pardon of many offences, that is, of all our per- 
sonal sins, and a right to life eternal through the grace of God; 
for we are justified freely by his grace through the redemption 
that is in Christ Jesus. 

And these things are thus plainly and fully delivered by the 
Apostle, to whose sense and expressions also (so far as may 
be) it is our duty to accommodate ours. What is offered in 
opposition hereto is so made up of exceptions, evasions, and 
perplexed disputes, and leads us so far off from the plain words 
of the Scripture, that the conscience of a convinced sinner 
knows not what to fix upon to give it rest and satisfaction, nor 
what it is that is to be believed to justification. 

Piscator in his Scholia on this chapter and elsewhere, insists 
much on a specious argument against the imputation of the 
obedience of Christ to our justification. But it proceeds evi- 
dently on an open mistake and false supposition, and is contra- 
dictory to the plain words of the text. It is true, as he ob- 
serves and proves, that our redemption, reconciliation, ])ardon 
of sin, and justification are often ascribed to the death and 
blood of Christ in a signal manner. The reasons of it have 
partly been intimated before, and a further account of them 
shall be given immediately. But it does not thence follow, 
that the obedience of his life wherein he fulfilled the whole 
law, being made under it for us, is excluded from any causaUty 


therein, or is not imputed to us. But in opposition thereto he 
thus argues.* 

" If the obedience of Christ's hfe was imputed to us for 
righteousness, it was not necessary that Christ should die for 
us; for it was our being unrighteous that made his death neces- 
sary, 1 Peter iii. 18. If therefore we were justified by his hfe, 
there remained no reason why he should die for us; for the 
justice of God does not allow of the punishment of the right- 
eous. But he punished us in Christ; or, what is equivalent, 
he punished Christ for us and in our stead, after he had lived 
a holy life, as is evident from Scripture. Therefore we were 
not justified by the holy life of Christ. Again, Christ died to 
procure for us that righteousness of God, 2 Cor. v. 21. He 
had not therefore procured it before his death." 

But this whole argument I say, proceeds upon an evident 
mistake. For it supposes such an order of things, as that the 
obedience of Christ or liis righteousness in fulfilling the law, is 
first imputed to us, and then the righteousness of his deatii is 
afterwards to take place, or to be imputed to us, which on that 
supposition he says would be of no use. But no such order 
or divine constitution is pleaded or pretended in our justifica- 
tion. It is true, the life of Christ, and his obedience to the 
law preceded his suflferings and undergoing the curse thereof; 
neither could it otherwise be. For this order of these things, 
between themselves was made necessary from the law of na- 
ture; but it does not thence follow that it must be observed in 
the imputation or application of them to us. For this is an 
effect of sovereign wisdom and grace, not respecting the natu- 
ral order of Christ's obedience and suffering, but the moral 
order of the things whereto they are appointed. And although 
we need not assert, nor do I so do, different acts of the impu- 
tation of the obedience of Christ to the justification of life, or a 
right and title to life eternal, and of the suff'ering of Christ to 
the pardon of our sins and freedom from condemnation ; but 
by both we have both, according to the ordinance of God, that 

* Si obedientia vitcE Christi nobis ad jtistitiam imputaretur, non fuit opus 
Christum pro nobis mori ; tnori enitn iiecesse fuit pro nobis injustis, 1 Pet. 
iii. 18. Quod si ergo justi effecti suinus per vitain illius, causa nulla relicta 
fuit cur pro nobis moreretur ; cjuia juslitia Dei non patitur ut puniat justos. 
At punivit nos in Chrislo, seu quod idem valet, punivit Christum pro nobis 
et loco nostri, posleaquam ille sancte vixisset, ut certum est e scripUira. 
Ergo non sumus justi effjcti per sanctain vitam Christi. Item, Cliristus 
mortuus est ut justitiam illam L»ei nobis acquireret. 2 Cor. v. :il. JNon igitur 
illain acquisiverat ante mortem. 


Christ may be all in all; yet as to the effects themselves, in the 
method of God's bringing sinners to the justification of life, the 
application of the death of Christ to them to the pardon of sin 
and freedom from condemnation, is in order of nature, and in 
the exercise of faith, antecedent to the application of his obe- 
dience to us for a right and title to life eternal. 

The state of the person to be justified is a state of sin and 
wrath, wherein he is liable to death and condemnation. This is 
that which a convinced sinner is sensible of, and which alone 
in the first place he seeks for deliverance from. What shall we 
do to be saved ? This in the first place is presented to him in 
the doctrine and promise of the gospel, which is the rule and